News from the BIA CEO, Steve Bates.... On Wednesday last week we got new guidance from the Government on no-deal Brexit preparedness with just 127 days to go until the Halloween deadline for the current extension period.
‘The UK is leading a two speed Europe’ (McKinsey & Company, Biotech in Europe: Scaling Innovation May 20, 2019).
One of the key findings and contrary to the received wisdom, is that the UK is totally smashing it on all measures as a Biotech hot spot according to research presented at BioEquity Europe in Barcelona by McKinsey & Company looking at where's hot and where's not.
Of the 1,000 European Biotechs established since 2012 the UK is leading by a country mile and represents 35% of all new Biotechs and according to the report and is leading a two speed Europe (with Germany, France and Spain in relative decline).
Today, the BIA is pleased to publish a new report, ‘Life sciences: Catalysing investment and growth”. which sets out how our sector is driving investment and growth across the UK and makes the case for increased cost-effective public investment in the sector. The report aims to inform the Government, UKRI and other policy makers as they prepare for the forthcoming Spending Review and develop an R&D roadmap to reach 2.4% R&D target.
Many congratulations to BIA Chair, Dr Jane Osbourn who has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s birthday honours announced at the weekend. Jane is a true pioneer in our sector, who not only has pioneered world-class research and contributed to blockbuster discoveries but is a passionate advocate for the UK life sciences sector. For me, Jane’s greatest qualities are her abilities to communicate and lead, she has and always will be a trailblazer in our sector and I’m delighted that she has received this award.
In Westminster the Conservative leadership contest to replace Theresa May is underway and we have produced a life sciences focused guide to the runners and riders which is available here.
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.
Delivering the deal negotiated with the EU is the Government’s priority. However, preparing for any outcome is recommended and many UK-based pharmaceutical firms would be affected by a ‘No Deal’ Exit from the EU. Here are the top five tips on preparation for no-deal.
It’s now the second quarter of 2019 and frustratingly Brexit uncertainty continues. I don’t see it being resolved this week. I know many of you are, at high cost, making contingency plans for all eventualities. I am equally well aware of how the Westminster drama provides an unhelpful backdrop to those seeking global investment into UK businesses. This week, following the PM losing the vote on an amendment and another Withdrawal Agreement vote, Parliament will vote again on different Brexit options to see if there is a position that commands a majority of the House. The default in UK and EU law is that the UK will leave the EU on Friday week, 12 April 2019 without a deal, however avoiding a no-deal Brexit is the one thing for which there has been a majority in Parliament.
The World Health Organisation is today convening its first expert advisory committee on developing global standards for the governance and oversight of human genome editing. The aim of the two-day meeting, in Geneva, is to examine the scientific, ethical, social and legal challenges of gene-editing and create guidelines and standards for it.
The meeting follows a call last week by some 16 leading scientists from 7 countries: USA; China; Canada; France; Germany; Italy and New Zealand for a global moratorium on heritable genome editing.
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.