CEO Update | 27 September 2021

Investments and expansions in UK manufacturing

Fantastic news last week as several investment and expansion announcements were made within the UK manufacturing community.

Autolus confirmed that they have received planning approval to develop a new 70,000 square foot facility in Stevenage. It’s great to see the continued expansion in the Stevenage area, a key cluster in the UK ecosystem. Further details of Autolus’ new facility can be found here.

More good news came out of Stevenage when Quell Therapeutics announced that they have entered a collaboration with the Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) Catapult. This will expand Quell’s clinical manufacturing capabilities and capacity in one of the recently opened specialist large-scale manufacturing modules at CGT Catapult’s manufacturing innovation centre. More details can be found here.

Serum Life Sciences, a subsidiary of the Serum Institute of India announced a £50m investment in Oxford Biomedica. The investment will develop a fallow area of the companies Oxford site into a flexible manufacturing area, alongside the validation of several independent cGMP suites. For further details please follow this link.

In Scotland, Symbiosis announced that they have completed a successful MHRA inspection of their new storage and warehouse capability in Stirling. For further details please follow this link.

AstraZeneca deal with Vaxequity

It’s great to see that AstraZeneca have signed a deal with Vaxequity, a spin out from Imperial College London, to create RNA therapeutics. This deal gives AstraZeneca the option to collaborate with VaxEquity on 26 drug targets, further details of the deal can be found here.

Government launches new AI strategy

The Government announced a new Artificial Intelligence strategy as part of tech week. Artificial intelligence is fast becoming a key component for biotech and life sciences companies, and it was interesting to note that the work of Deepmind was included in the Government press release. To read the strategy please follow this link.

Dr John Brown, CBE to retire as Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult’s Chairman

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult have announced that Dr John Brown - its Chairman for three successive terms and former BIA board member - will be retiring. Under John’s tenure the Catapult has gone from strength to strength, establishing itself as a key player in the cell and gene therapy area and most recently creating a new facility in Braintree. To read the Catapult release please follow this link.  

Steve Bates

Chief Executive Officer


Steve Bates has been the CEO of the UK Bioindustry Association since 2012. He currently chairs the International Council of Biotech Associations and has been a Board member of Europabio since 2015. Steve is the visible face of the vibrant UK life sciences industry to government and media. He sits on the UK’s Life Sciences Council and Life Sciences Industrial Strategy Implementation Board. Steve has championed with government effective industrial incentives like the Biomedical Cataylst which have crowded-in private sector investment into UK SMES. He has forged links for the sector across the USA, Europe and in China. In his time at the BIA Steve has developed new member groups focused on cell and gene therapy, genomics and engineered biology. A strong advocate of partnership working, Steve champions sector collaboration with research charities and academia. Proud to lead an organisation with a diverse Board with over 40% female representation, Steve is committed to next generation talent and developing the skills needed for the sector to flourish. Before the BIA, Steve worked for Genzyme and as an advisor to the UK Government of Tony Blair. He was made OBE for services to innovation in 2017.