CEO Update|Monday 04 November 2019

The UK will have a General Election on December 12 and the “do or die” 31 October Brexit deadline has come and gone.  


Any election period is a good opportunity to explain our sector to all those with ambitions for power in Westminster. With the party campaigns well underway the BIA is raising our sector’s priorities with the key parties’ central manifesto processes. By next week we aim to share those priorities with the broader membership so you can also raise them with your local candidates for Parliament. Next week’s Newscast will have more detail and as always, we welcome members feedback on these matters, especially if individual candidates are reaching out to you.   


The next Brexit deadline is now set as 31 January 2020. With no clarity on what government will form until the middle of December, we have to remain open to all options happening, and yet again, a very short timescale to prepare for that deadline, which could be another highly political moment. My expectation is that the UK no-deal continuity of supply arrangements will be the same as they were for the 31st October deadline in terms of the multi-layered approach. Therefore, the work done on this in recent weeks remains relevant and a summary can be accessed here for reference.


Our next Brexit webinar will take place on the 22 November, and will provide a staging post for the latest official advice on Brexit preparedness and an assessment of how things could develop after the election. 


Beneath the headlines some really important work from government has been published in the last week, A key piece of work has been put out by NHSX – a report on how to get Artificial Intelligence (AI) right – called ‘Putting policy into practice for safe data-driven innovation in health and care’. Do have a read here. It sets out a vision on how to move forward the use of AI in healthcare which has been a key topic of discussion at recent BIA conferences.  


Also, out last week, NHS England has published the long-awaited draft of its commercial framework. This should clarify how NHS England officials will work with companies to reach agreements on how much the NHS pays for medicines. The BIA contributed to the development of this draft, acting as a collaborative and critical friend to NHS England. We now look forward to being able to formally respond to the consultation, which is open until 10 January. If you wish to comment - which I encourage member companies to do -  you can complete the online survey here.


Another valuable read and resource is BIA member LifeArc’s new Annual Report which displays their work and the multiple impacts they are making on biomedical translation. Read it here.


Over the past week it has been great to see our members being shortlisted and winning a variety of awards. Ten of our members were winners or highly commended in the Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards 2019. A big well done to Cambridge Cancer Genomics, CRUK Cambridge Centre, Healx, PhoreMost, Astex Pharmaceuticals, Congenica, Mogrify, Evonetix, Crescendo Biologics, and AstraZeneca. Read more about the awards here. Mogrify has also been shortlisted for Europabio’s Biotech of the Year award and I am excited to attend the ceremony in Brussels next week.


I am looking forward to seeing you at our bioProcessUK conference later this month in Liverpool. Make sure to register for what will be a spectacular event.