Biotech start-ups need substantial sums of money to fund their research and development activities. To attract investors and scale up their operations, founders must put some fundamental building blocks in place and avoid some common pitfalls.
The last week of Parliament before a summer recess often sees a raft of government announcements, as Ministers rush to get things into the public domain before heading off on holiday. Last week was a busy one with several key announcements affecting our sector, including updates on the National Security and Investment Act, the Innovative Medicines Fund, a new BEIS Innovation Strategy and a command paper on Northern Ireland. This was topped off for me by the misleading front page headline on Sunday suggesting “animal testing could end” due to a government review.
The National Security and Investment Bill, which the BIA has been working on in recent months, received Royal Assent and became legislation on 29 April 2021. This new law gives the UK Government powers to intervene in and scrutinise certain business transactions to protect national security. Since becoming law, the BIA has been working with Government officials on the outstanding aspects of the regime, like the definitions of the sectors it would apply to and the guidance associated.
This week sees the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in England and potentially a return to more ‘normal’ times. I’ve been reflecting on the mammoth task the life sciences sector was presented with almost 18 months ago in trying to develop and deliver a vaccine for COVID-19 at unprecedented speed, and how industry, academia and Government managed to come together so quickly and effectively to find solutions to a problem we didn’t fully understand yet.
Last week the BIA welcomed the unveiling of the Government’s new Life Sciences Vision which sets out the shared ambition for the UK to be the leading global location for the life sciences to innovate, grow and deliver breakthroughs for the benefit of patients and the public in all parts of the UK.
The end of your PhD is a confusing and difficult time. The relief of completing four years of work combined with the stress of an impending viva and uncertainty of going out into the world and finding a real grown-up job make your final few months a whirlwind of expectations. Did you maintain enough of that first-year optimism to make a go of it in academia, or is it time to branch out and try something a bit different?
Fantastic news last week, that BIA member Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies will be making a sizeable investment to add development and manufacturing capacity for biologics and advanced therapies into its UK manufacturing operation.
In2scienceUK is a charity that empowers young people from low-income backgrounds to reach their potential and progress to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). By providing young people with access to a high impact programme including work placements with STEM professionals, mentoring and skills, In2scienceUK is promoting social mobility by providing insights into STEM careers and positive role models.
Humans have long explored global biodiversity in search of new natural compounds that can be used to benefit human health. Today, researchers in the bioindustry sector continue to explore biodiversity for treatments to various human health conditions and diseases.
Eric Johnsson, former Policy and Public Affairs Manager at the BIA, tells the story of how a world-leading consortium was set up at the start of the pandemic and completed the fastest antibody discovery process ever run in the UK.