Refilling the Biomedical Catalyst must now be an urgent government priority

The UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) is calling on the Government to refill the Biomedical Catalyst as an urgent priority, as analysis from IPSOS Mori showed that the R&D funding programme generates £4.72 in public and business value for every £1 invested by the Government.

The Biomedical Catalyst offers funding to translational research and industrial R&D projects at varying stages of technical and commercial development, which is delivered in partnership by the Medical Research Council and Innovate UK. The programme was last refilled in 2016 with £100m, which has now been fully committed, meaning no further projects will be funded until the Government commits new funding.

Steve Bates OBE, Chief Executive of the BIA said: “The study by Ipsos MORI is concrete proof that the Biomedical Catalyst is fulfilling its ambition to increase private investment into the life sciences sector and by doing so, accelerating the availability of transformative and innovative products to NHS patients.

“The Biomedical Catalyst is effective industrial policy in action. The Government’s own Queen's speech briefing indicates that every £1 of public expenditure on R&D leverages around £1.40 of additional private investment. This new analysis shows the Biomedical Catalyst is proven to outperform that by leveraging up to £5.09 of private investment per £1 of public expenditure.

“In addition, its light bureaucracy approach ensures brilliant UK science entrepreneurs can spend as much time as possible creating new companies, not filling in unnecessary forms. As new ideas about improving funding agencies are developed by the Government the Biomedical Catalyst must be used as a case study in success."

Key findings from the report include:

  • Companies in receipt of BMC grants increased their R&D investment by 93%, which will help the Government reach its target of raising UK R&D investment to at least 2.4% of GDP by 2027.
  • Grants increased employment in companies by 11-15% over 3-5 years, equivalent to creation of up to 330 jobs
  • The 150 companies funded by the BMC raised as much as £710m in additional VC after receiving the grant. This suggests the grants leveraged £3.99 to £5.09 private investment per £1 of public grant

To see a copy of the report please follow this link.

Notes to Editors

  1. Steve Bates at tomorrow’s UK Bioscience Forum at London’s County Hall will tell delegates in his keynote address, “Put the boosters on UK life sciences Boris, refill the -newly evidence based- biomedical catalyst”
  2. The BIA launched an interim report, UK life sciences: Catalysing investment and growth, earlier this year on how the UK life sciences sector is driving investment and growth and makes the case for increased cost-effective public investment in the sector.
  3. The BIA was instrumental in securing the launch of the Biomedical Catalyst and has made its continuation a key campaign focus since 2013. This leaflet provides details of the campaign timeline.
  4. In January the BIA launched Confident capital: backing UK biotech, which revealed that the UK biotech sector raised a record £2.2 billion from investors in 2018. The total is the best ever recorded by the trade association and almost double that raised in 2017.
  5. The Government's Queen Speech briefing can be found here. 
  6. For more information please contact Jack Fellows, BIA Communications and Media Manager at or 02076302196

About the BIA

Established over 25 years ago at the infancy of biotechnology, the BioIndustry Association (BIA) is the trade association for innovative life sciences in the UK. Our goal is to secure the UK's position as a global hub and as the best location for innovative research and commercialisation, enabling our world-leading research base to deliver healthcare solutions that can truly make a difference to people's lives.