5 December 2011 -- The BioIndustry Association (BIA) welcomes the Prime Minister's announcement of a coordinated life sciences strategy which could provide a foundation for the future of the bioscience sector in the UK.
The Life Sciences Strategy includes measures to improve the funding environment for companies as well as to ensure that innovative medicines reach the patients that need them as soon as possible. Among the measures that the BIA considers most important for our members are:
- The establishment of a £180 million Biomedical Catalyst Fund to nurture innovative technologies.
- Early in 2012 the MHRA will bring forward for consultation proposals for an 'Early Access Scheme'.
- Create a vital role for the NHS in supporting patients who wish to be involved in clinical research
Glyn Edwards, interim Chief Executive of the BIA said:
"Today's announcement by the Prime Minister to implement a strategy for life sciences is to be welcomed. Specifically the BIA is very pleased to see the Prime Minister commit to a £180 million BioMedical Catalyst Fund; we look forward to seeing the details of this initiative, and how it will work to support innovative SMEs facing the 'valley of death' funding gap. The BIA also welcomes measures to introduce an early access scheme for new medicines, and we note the intention to extend this scheme to drugs at an earlier stage than phase III development, where supported by suitable data. We will of course continue to work with government to develop these proposals which are important for the development of a vibrant SME sector within the Life Sciences industry.
"However the BIA believes that government should not stop with the actions announced today. We have been lobbying for the introduction of a Citizens Innovation Fund for example, a tax free retail investment product targeted at the general public, allowing up to £15,000 per person per annum to be invested in funds which are exclusively targeted at innovative SMEs."
For further information, please contact Robert Winder, Communications Manager, 020 7630 2191; mobile 07825 942 934.
Founded over 20 years ago at the infancy of biotechnology, the BioIndustry Association (BIA) is the trade association for innovative enterprises involved in UK bioscience. Members include emerging and more established bioscience companies; pharmaceutical companies; academic, research and philanthropic organisations; and service providers to the bioscience sector. The BIA represents the interests of its members to a broad section of stakeholders, from government and regulators to patient groups and the media. Our goal is to secure the UK's position as a global hub and as the best location for innovative research and commercialisation, enabling our world-leading research base to deliver healthcare solutions that can truly make a difference to people's lives. For further information, please go to www.bioindustry.org