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UKI2S and Innovate UK launch new £10m initiative to accelerate growth of early stage science and engineering companies

The £27m UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S) and Innovate UK (IUK) have launched a joint initiative, the UKI2S Innovate Accelerator. With £10m of IUK funding to be used alongside direct equity investment by UKI2S, the new scheme is designed to boost some of the UK’s most exciting young companies.

CEO Update | Monday 20 May 2019

UK life science certainly feels more Champions League Final (Spurs v Liverpool) than Eurovision (UK last place) this week. First, LifeArc has announced that it has sold most of its royalty interest in the blockbuster drug Keytruda for $1.3bn (£1.02bn) and plans to invest the windfall in developing new treatments. The sale was made to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, one of the world’s largest retirement funds. We were thrilled that recently-appointed LifeArc CEO, Melanie Lee, was the recipient of our lifetime achievement award at the BIA Gala Dinner in January – it’s fantastic to see her leading the way on LifeArc’s monetization process. This is great news for the UK life sciences ecosystem, research and patients. You can read more about this in the Financial Times.

Locate Bio receives additional £2.0 million investment from Mercia to expand gene and cell therapy pipeline

Locate Bio Ltd has received an additional £2.0 million of investment from Mercia Technologies PLC and its third party fund, the Midlands Engine Investment Fund to expand the application of its technologies, including its promising gene therapy technology IntraStem™, into new high value therapy areas to both broaden its in-house development pipeline and provide additional partnering opportunities.

Video of the week | Big pharma's billion-dollar bets

Check out this video to learn more about why big companies are paying billions to take over small companies. Facing pressure from investors to cut R&D spending, large pharmaceutical companies are always in search of the next blockbuster drug, making risky bets on companies that may only have one drug in their pipeline. Arash Massoudi, the FT's corporate finance and deals editor tells all.

N-Site Life Sciences Knowledge Portal is now free for all subscribers – new expert guidance updates available

N-Site is a unique knowledge portal which provides expert insight and expertise for organisations, professionals and academics in the life sciences sector. This resource is now free to all subscribers, reflecting our intention for this resource to be used by as many as possible, and offers over 85 Guidance Notes from FTI Consulting, Gill Jennings & Every and Taylor Wessing on the key issues affecting companies in the sector.

Engaging with China | BIA CEO, Steve Bates OBE

I attended and participated in the inaugural WuXi Healthcare Forum in Shanghai in March 2019, enabling me to gain a better insight into some of the key trends occurring in innovative life science in China today.  Here are a few thoughts that I came away with. In the last two years China has made a concerted attempt to, and has delivered, fundamental changes to key aspects of its human healthcare market as part of a broader Government push to improve healthcare for the nation and become a leader in biotechnology. They fall into four areas regulation, reimbursement, talent and capital.

CEO Update | Monday 11 March 2019

I spent last week at the inaugural WuXi Healthcare Forum in Shanghai, and it proved to be a hugely insightful week, with over 2000 global leaders gathered. I spoke on a panel entitled ‘New Era, Golden Opportunities’ where leaders from China and the UK explored how key stakeholders are redefining the innovation narrative – opening up a new era of opportunities and connecting the global life sciences ecosystem. I also attended the British Consulate-General/BioIndustry Association official reception hosted by John Edwards, HM Consul General in Shanghai and Kevin Holland, Minister Counsellor of Life Sciences and Healthcare at the British Embassy in Beijing. You can read a blog on my thoughts from the forum and the other life sciences developments in China here. The UK’s China life sciences tea

BIA City and Finance Update | February 2019

More M&A is on the horizon after a strong start to the year. It won’t be the last, with more expected over the next few months. There is likely to be a positive trickle-down effect on UK Life Sciences. Can you help with the BIA’s work for Comprehensive Spending Review? Will delisting become a trend? We discuss the jargon surrounding public and private companies and introduce the investor Mercia.

Guest blog | Destiny Pharma | Meeting the Challenge of AMR: Resisting Resistance!

Anti-microbial resistance (AMR) is undoubtedly one of mankind’s greatest healthcare challenges. This is emphasised by the fact that this crisis is a main agenda item for the United Nations, World Health Organisation, G7 and G20. Lord O’Neill, chair of the UK Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, put the future in stark contrast in his 2016 report “Tackling drug-resistant infections globally” – if significant steps are not taken to address this issue, >10 million AMR attributable deaths per annum (more than currently caused by cancer) and a total cost to the global economy of $100 trillion by 2050 is predicted.

CEO Update | Monday 4 March 2019

Fantastic member news came out this morning – Nighstar Therapeutics (who feature in our Cell and Gene Therapies Explainer) have reached an agreement to be acquired by Biogen Switzerland Holdings for $877 million. Nightstar was founded and built by BIA member Syncona Ltd, an industry leader focussed on building and funding global life science leaders. This valuation represents a 4.5X multiple on Syncona’s initial investment in Nightstar and is a resounding endorsement of Syncona’s business model, demonstrating the fantastic returns obtainable through long-term commitment to companies. You can read more about this great news here.