BioIndustry Association: Nigel Gaymond




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Video title: BioIndustry Association: Nigel Gaymond
Released on: March 09, 2011. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, Fintan Walton talks to Nigel Gaymond, CEO of BioIndustry Association
Primary role of BioIndustry Association
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here in Munich at BIO-Europe 2010. On this show I have Nigel Gaymond , who is the Chief Executive of the BioIndustry Association based in the UK, welcome to the show.
Nigel Gaymond :
Thank you.
Fintan Walton:
Nigel Gaymond , the BioIndustry Association or the BIA is obviously an important association industry association for biotechnology companies in the UK, what would you say is the primary role or goal even of BIA ?
Nigel Gaymond :
Well I think it changes I mean it's been in existence for 21-years now, I am effectively the 5th CEO, I actually interfaced with it back in 1989 when it was formed when I was working in Boston. I think it's role has changed it has been very good on the lobbying side and sort of focusing a bit more on the ecosystem if you like in terms of what the UK is and should be, so it's a dual-purpose.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so when you talk about the echo system you are talking about presumably largely the financial conditions which enable biotechnology to thrive?
Nigel Gaymond :
The financial condition but also the science, the science space and we are particularly pleased at the recent comprehensive spending review with the government coming out and actually ring fencing their science budgets which was tremendously important, but that's one side of the equation so we will certainly be lobbying hard for the upcoming growth white paper which we hope is going to take care of the other side of the ledger which is very much the small companies innovation where the science is going to get exploited and translated.
Fintan Walton:
Right, when you talked about back in 1989, back in 1989 the UK, well the UK had a was one of the leading biotechnology centres in Europe, countries in Europe, would we be able to climb that today?
Nigel Gaymond :
I think we're still certainly one of the leaders and if not the lead depends on the statistics you look at, but certainly we do not hold the lead perhaps once had, other countries have mobilized very successfully and there has been some notables successes in say Switzerland and Belgium they have done a great job. One of the reasons I was recruited and felt comfortable coming back from San Diego which is not a shabby place to live was very much what I felt the UK could and should be when you look at the asset base we've got with our universities with 4 of the top 10 universities, 19 of the top 100 I don't think there is a super cluster of activity anywhere in the world that wouldn't love to have that as a starting base.
Nigel Gaymond 's perspective: State of Biotechnology industry in UK
Fintan Walton:
Right, so when you joined BIA you took on that commitment, you did a diagnostic if we could use that term on the industry here in the UK and so how would you measure the state of biotechnology and what vision and what corrections do you want to see happen?
Nigel Gaymond :
I think some of them are cultural. I spent 25-years in the States and one of the things it doesn't view you is there is a candor spirit. I think we've always had fantastic science, we've always come up with ideas. We've always had London as an asset and it's a huge asset and perhaps we've under utilized it, may be we don't talk about ourselves enough, maybe we are little bit too quite about things. We had some visitors through BIA about a month ago from Ohio they haven't been through for five-years, I outlined where we were in the industry and the condor end of it was looking at each other the American's was why haven't we've been to the UK in the last five-years, why are we going to Finland, why are we going to Israel and it just really reinforced to me that perhaps we won't be aggressive for about saying why people should do life sciences here in the UK and when you look at that science space that question really needs to be asked hard we should be much, much better than we are.
Fintan Walton:
So it's largely a question of voice, what voice comes from the UK about in another words we are not as you just said blowing our trumpet loud enough?
Nigel Gaymond :
Not blowing our trumpet perhaps you know we've been, yes we are perceived sometimes as big risk aversion zone. I will say in the past I certainly would have viewed the UK market in terms of it's level of executives as being perhaps weaker in certain states I don't necessarily believe that's true anymore, I think there is people who have got the scars that you need in this industry it's a tough industry it has a lot of disappointments they've survived that, I think there is a much better cadre of talent now in executives in this country. So the next step is right how we are going to turn this story around and actually start not dwelling on our failures which are no worse from our rate point of view than say they are in the states, but we don't have the same number of companies to fall back on, but we don't celebrate our success enough, we have had successes and so it's been gentle plot to the press that I have been asking about you know can you celebrate success a little more because they certainly do in the US.
Fintan Walton:
Isn't one of the issues that sometimes pointed out is that we've had our successes and they've all been bought, and so what we are left with is a struggling emerging biotechnology class if I call it that which to be frank you know are suffering because there isn't basically enough finance around to help them grow?
Nigel Gaymond :
Yes, that's clearly if you put on your nationalistic hat you would love to see a major British biotech company of the likes of Genentech's , the Amgen's I think the sound reality is actually you are not actually going to see those type of companies we created probably now anywhere in the world because they are going to get taken out by big pharma's and other big biotech's now. So I think the days of actually dreaming of those things happening are gone, the reality is I think as long as we are creating value and I would argue that you know always we can dwell on the lack of a national major company reality is significant value has been created from some of our companies and they were obviously with some value that people wanted to purchase and I think as long as we focusing on that aspect and building value in this country we'll still get investor interest in this country, but we have to flip the story into a bit more of a success mode and look it across the life sciences which is why the trade associations in this sector really starting to work much closer together.
Fintan Walton:
So how would you measure your own success against what parameter would you like to measure which would enable us to understand that actually biotech in Britain has moved forward?
Nigel Gaymond :
Clearly you can put in numbers of companies obviously and so on the amount of funds going into the industry, I would like to see the UK become a becoming a centre of interest for investors from around the globe whether they are from North America or from Asia. I believe that actually the story is an incredible one for the UK, I think we need to be much more aggressive of how we select, I think we have every reason to get a lot of interest from investors from around the globe, because we have depressed valuations, because we have equity gaps at the moment and yet we still have this fantastic science space that hopefully now has been protected so it continue to produce the science, but let's have the further world start coming here because that will certainly turn around the city people.
Entrepreneural talent in UK
Fintan Walton:
But when you, you've described your own experience in the United States, I mean what is the missing piece besides the you know can do attitude that American's may appear to come across as, what's the key difference as you see and that ingredient that you would like to see come into the UK?
Nigel Gaymond :
I guess it's certainly the thing you've just said you know that's the can do attitude and I guess the other word would be ambition.
Fintan Walton:
So it's just that?
Nigel Gaymond :
No, I actually look I am a pretty simple guy and I look at things in a simple way and I think we have to complicate things sometimes. I see a lot of really, really good people in key positions in the UK at the moment, and yes we are talking about trying to affect the culture shift here. I was asked by a publicly traded biotech Ceo friend of mine from the States they are then about two or three weeks ago over dinner, if you could do one thing in the UK what it would be, and I said change the culture.
Fintan Walton:
Right, because one thing that I observe when I go outside the UK is the number of UK executives running US biotech companies or Australian biotech companies or European biotech companies as if one of the key exports for Britain are the executives themselves?
Nigel Gaymond :
And I want to do something about that, I actually set up a network for expert executives in North America over the last 10-years I've sort of kept the database procured it to BIA that's about a 1000 strong about a 150 at CEO level. Our goal is that we are going to lead these people back. Countries like India, New Zealand and China have done spectacular jobs reaching out to diaspora we have more to gain than anyone, when you look at the quality of our executives abroad our education system clearly produces not only great talent they have must produced entrepreneurs too that gives the like, guys go abroad they are in a different system they succeed as entrepreneurs, so don't tell me the UK can't foster entrepreneurs it's there lets unlock it.
Venture Capitals in UK
Fintan Walton:
So let's go back to the one of the favorite discussions always going in Britain is about financing and I suppose one of the are we a victim of our own previous success in a sense that because Britain was one of the earlier entrants into biotechnology there is a lot more tired venture capitalists in the UK and that we need really need some sort of fresh blood to come into the VC arena?
Nigel Gaymond :
Yes and to be first VC is not just the VC it's (indiscernable) it's the actual institution investors as well, I mean they've had some disappointments and we can't get around that and we've got to find a way to turn this story around and then have there been successes? yes probably not in the therapeutic area which has had disappointments, but we have certainly had successes on the diagnostics in the device front and so on, and do I think that's ultimately we are going to have some successes in the therapeutic? absolutely. I mean we have fantastic news today with ReNeuronstroke trial first stem cell treatment to get into the clinic being started in Glasgow you know this, so there is a lot of good things happening at the moment perhaps we don't focus on enough because it's not publically traded companies but there is actually a lot of very good things happening.
Fintan Walton:
And the industries as we've already noticed has changed and in the sense that you've already indicated we are not going to see the same biotechnology companies appear as we did in the past, so where does that leave us? What type of biotechnology companies are we going to see are they always going to be now, I mean it looks the IPO market is gone probably gone forever particularly for early stage companies so you gonna have private companies with investors are they gonna look for an exit in that if you don't have an IPO exit to a public market is through acquisitions, so do we see a turn in other words we may have names of biotechnology companies not just in the UK but around the world coming through maturing and then being snapped up or disappearing?
Nigel Gaymond :
I think for the time being that's the I mean that's what's going to drive returns it has to be that route until the public markets turn around. I mentioned earlier the work we are doing with the other trade associations particularly in the UK we recommend the device associations which is the ABHI, the diagnostics association we've the and with the ABPI on the pharma side. We are working increasingly closer together now these two things driving that, that one is the work with the office for life sciences which has got created is still continuing despite the change of government which is a tremendous credit to the coalition that they said that they are not going to get rid of it which would be easy to do when we change governments, but they are keeping it, what is done also there is it's actually force the trade industries to actually look at each other and say no we've actually got a lot of in common here we need to work and it's not just that it's technology converges that's going on that's what you are eluding to there you know it's diagnostics driving stratified medicines it's devices to deliver drugs and so on, so the market is going to drive all these sectors closer together and we just need to be at the vineyard of that and get people focused on which was the reason for our R&D conference recently with the ABPI get people focused on the tremendous value that is actually built in this country.
BioIndustry Association's role in creation of stronger community network
Fintan Walton:
Lets just talk about culture I mean you've already talked you've mentioned a few things around culture, one of the things that you observe in the US for an example I think is a stronger sharing of information, stronger networks?
Nigel Gaymond :
Sense of community.
Fintan Walton:
Sense of community, and I sometimes feel whether Britain has that?
Nigel Gaymond :
Doesn't, I am trying to create it, because I see it is hugely important when a company joins the BIA for instance I don't want it to be just about what they are going to get out of the BIA , I think we've tended too long to actually think of it in those terms and that's all well and good and absolutely we must provide value for the money that comes in fees, but the reality is it is also gonna be a good percentage and I would put as highest 30, 40 percent of that fee is got to be within a view to investment and need to invest in our community, the bigger the community we create the more opportunity there is for people then more fund we have you know perhaps funds sort of this we view sometimes it's perceived as a bit soft and too wooly for British sensibilities, but the reality is why can't we have fund doing it. I think creating that sense of community in the UK could go a long way and I would hope that people can come along for that ride, because I think it's an exciting thing and it's certainly something I picked up in the US.
Fintan Walton:
Right, now the other thing of course the UK has is got at least two major pharmaceutical companies that are in the UK, how important is it for the pharmaceutical industry to get involved in this community?
Nigel Gaymond :
Huge, and it's one of the drivers for the relationship we have with the ABPI which is very close is one of the reasons we did the R&D conference two or three weeks ago because we need each other, we need they have the deep pockets they need our innovation that's the way it's going at the moment, it's a strong position to be in that we are in to have two major pharmaceutical companies based here, but we need to make sure that the relationship just gets stronger, and stronger, and stronger because of that need for each other.
Fintan Walton:
And you know one observation that I have when I talk to people from the biotech community in the UK is one that you know a solace may be in one way of describing it and you know is there and it's genuine it's not just somebody its something can we change that, can that be turned around and moved towards a more positive energy which will then drive the industry further and surely that's something that an organization like yours should be doing?
Nigel Gaymond :
Absolutely and that's what I want to do. I am looking for a few good people, I would say men and women to come along for that ride, I know having spent 10 months in the job now I know there is a lot of good people in the UK with great talent who share the same passion I do for what the UK should become, our job is to mobilize those people so stay in each other when we are getting the negative meanings as I call them you know attacking us, because I don't care what anyone says that's the future I want, I want that positive future I don't want the negative it doesn't work.
Fintan Walton:
Yes.
Nigel Gaymond :
Positive works.
Nigel Gaymond 's perspective :Future of Biotech industy in UK
Fintan Walton:
Yes, self defeating. So let's look at the industry going forward over the next three to four-years may be five-years is going to be critically important for the industry generally right across the world, so what do you see when you look into your crystal ball for the UK for the biotechnology industry in the UK, are we going what sort of shift are we going to see because we need shifting?
Nigel Gaymond :
Yes, I would hope much greater global engagement. I would hope that not only our companies really understanding the need to get on planes and go and see clients, go and see partners and be aggressive about it, but then we are too sufficiently attractive and lets not forget we've London is the asset. London is the most visited city in the world not just by tourists, but by corporates, that's why we are exploring with the ABPI and others the notion could we co-locate one of the things the vision is that we can create a hub, create a centre that's a place not only for the industry to meet across the UK in London, but it's also a destination for corporate and investors coming in from overseas who all come to London lets give them the place to come were they can be even meet or they signpost into the best the UK has got.
Fintan Walton:
So you have a bio-cluster basically initially in one building?
Nigel Gaymond :
This make this will make the UK a super cluster, we keep comparing ourselves to the US it's a mistake you know thats too big, but if we thing about ourselves as a supercluster so as a region for life sciences then you look at that asset base I mentioned earlier on with the universities and you say right what's our competition now it's not the US it's Boston, San Francisco, San Diego, Singapore, output us against anyone of those when it comes to share science space we are behind in terms of the numbers of companies and so on, but we got some incredible assets to build, so I don't see any reason why we have to play second fiddle to anyone.
Fintan Walton:
Nigel Gaymond , thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Nigel Gaymond :
It's my pleasure.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Nigel Gaymond
CEO
Nigel Gaymond joined the BioIndustry Association (BIA) in January 2010 as Chief Executive. Prior to joining the BIA , Nigel Gaymond provided consultancy services to a range of life sciences companies in the USA and Europe through his consulting practice, Gaymond International, focusing on the life sciences biotechnology, medical device/technology, pharmaceutical, veterinary health, and Ag/bio. He has also worked as a Managing Partner at the healthcare and technology development company Mosaigen and as Director of Corporate Development for the corporate transaction adviser Tranziger. Previously, Nigel Gaymond served for nearly seven years as a Commercial Officer at the British Consulate-General in Boston, Massachusetts, where he ran the Commercial Department in assisting the UK's biotechnology, healthcare and agriculture exports and became the British government's lead Commercial Officer for biotechnology in the US. He was also the founding CEO of the Edinburgh BioAlliance in Scotland, has been a special adviser to the Invest in Sweden Agency in North America; operated BELS (British Expats in Life Sciences), a network that linked the hundreds of ex-patriate "Brits" working in the life sciences in North America; and published SN(i)PS, a subscription weekly life sciences news digest. Before moving to the US in 1985 for his role at the British Consulate-General, Nigel Gaymond spent some time in sales and marketing at IBM in the UK, having started his working life as a teacher. Currently, Nigel Gaymond is on the Board of Trustees of The Forsyth Institute in the US, the leading independent dental and craniofacial research organization in the world, where he is involved in various business development activities. Nigel Gaymond also chairs the US Business Advisory Board of the Child Health Research Institute doing business as CureKids, and was a member of the North American board of the New Zealand Beachheads program, chairing its Life Science panel of advisors, and having now moved over to the UK Board of this programme. Previously he served on the boards of the Scottish BioNetwork Association, the British American Business Council of New England and the New England Chapter of the British Olympic Association. Nigel Gaymond is a former first class rugby player in the UK who played on two national championship teams and also was a semi-professional jazz musician in his younger days. Nigel Gaymond has a BSc in Linguistic and International Studies from the University of Surrey, and a post-graduate degree in Education.
PharmaVentures
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
BioIndustry Association
BioIndustry Association is the trade association for innovative enterprises in the UK's bioscience sector. Established in 1989, our mission is to encourage and promote a thriving, financially sound sector of the UK economy, built upon developments across the biosciences. We seek to create economic growth, increase employment opportunities, and expand the skills base.