BIA Chairman, Tim Edwards unveils new initiatives for growth of UK Biotechnology industry

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Video title: BIA Chairman, Tim Edwards unveils new initiatives for growth of UK Biotechnology industry
Released on: October 05, 2011. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, Fintan Walton talks to Tim Edwards, Chairman of BIA
Role as Chairman of BIA
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here in Oxford. On this show I have Tim Edwards, who is the Chairman of the BIA Association here in the UK, welcome.
Tim Edwards:
Thank you Fintan and good morning.
Fintan Walton:
Good morning to you, it's actually the BioIndustry Association lets correct on that now the BIA is like a number of a countrywide or country specific associations which are there to support the biotechnology industry and of course in this case support the biotechnology industry in the UK. You've taken on the role of a Chairman of the BIA some would argue at a pretty tough time in the industry primarily because of lack of funding and so forth, so just from a personal point of view you are also CEO of Cellzome what was it that made you want to join BIA and take on this role as Chairman?
Tim Edwards:
Well I've been a board member for about three-years before and in simply put I was asked to do it and I think it's important to take on these roles if you are asked it's a sense of duty and I feel strongly about the biotech sector and trying to make a broader contribution in my role as the CEO of Cellzome to it.
Initiatives by BIA for growth of UK Biotechnology industry
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so obviously it is important to biotechnology companies that the right environment exists within the UK for biotechnology so as you've taken on the role as Chairman for the last nine months what initiatives are you taking to address the issue that most biotechnology companies feel that is to make sure the correct environment exists to ensure that there is a flourishing biotechnology industry if we can get that?
Tim Edwards:
I agree, so the BIA really represents science and innovation, so of all the trade associations we are more particularly associated by the government and perhaps by other participants with science and innovation as regards drug candidates and our initiatives we're really pursuing three initiatives, first we were trying to engage with more members, secondly we are trying to form a hub so in response to the office of life science we're trying to coordinate better with other trade bodies and thirdly we are trying to improve the business environment and I can give you if u like a little bit of detail on each.
Fintan Walton:
Yes please, if you could yes.
Tim Edwards:
So in terms of engaging with members Nigel Gaymond, who is also been a relatively new as a CEO he has been very energetic and very committed to this process and he has had a number of business breakfasts we are stepping up our conference programs, we've recently done a program conference with EMAC for example the future of healthcare and generally speaking we are putting on much higher quality conferences than we've done before as well as meeting the number of CEO's through the breakfast programs and so on. In terms of forming a hub you all have recently seen that we've co-located with the ABPI now in building under south side in Victoria in London and I think that will it's a central coffee area there is a centre sort of cafes relaxed meeting area where I think much of the relationship between the two trade organizations will be developed in more of a sort of informal way than in that formal way and in terms of improving the business environment, I mean the key message coming out of the CEO's is funding, funding, funding and we are looking to improve the R&D tax credits system and you all seen in the recent budget the step up from 175% to 200% of reliable expenditure and you will see the removal of the PAYE and NI cap in the year 2012, so we are improving the R&D tax credits structure, but also looking at consortium relief talking to the government about that to facilitate ways in which pharma can invest in biotech and we see not many collaborations have an equity component so making that work better through tax relief of biotech's lots of biotech losses will help that process and also we are looking to introduce a new investment product, right now unlike in France and other countries in Europe the UK does not have a specialist if you like ISA we call it an innovation ISA, the UK doesn't have one in France as this product called the FCPA were citizens can get a tax break on investing in innovative companies cleantech, biotech, hitech and in France they raise about 500 million Euros through those schemes every year and we think the UK is well placed to adopt such a scheme and this would bring a new flow of capital into the hitech sector, so not government, not venture capital but ordinary citizens.
Fintan Walton:
And is that to replace the VCT type investment package that was offered in the past?
Tim Edwards:
Yes, VCT type package is more orientated towards sort of semi professional investors and the rules are not rules are more specific about the relationship between the shareholder and the company, the point about an innovation ISA is it as a citizen you can allocate, you can subscribe 2000 Euros that gets pulled into a recognized vehicle that has potential regulatory approval and then that specialist vehicle goes and invests in the biotech, the hitech and so on.
Fintan Walton:
And is that a private privately run or is it run through a government?
Tim Edwards:
That would be privately run like any you know pension funds or insurance companies are run and actually I think, but I don't want to talk about it now but behind the scenes we are working on some quite different models of investment vehicle that are much better recognized by the public then perhaps you know some of the specialist investment vehicles.
Fintan Walton:
And I suppose then you know obviously through some of these initiatives will your members get more funding you think?
Tim Edwards:
That's the objective, the objective is to have a different flow of capital coming into the biotech sector.
Tim Edwards's perspective: Future of biotech in UK
Fintan Walton:
And, but in terms of our overall environment are we is that likely to replace the normal venture capital or is it going to replace how may be even pharma companies will invest in biotech?
Tim Edwards:
I don't think it will replace it, I think the future is one where we will see pharma venture capital and venture capital itself working in a much more aligned way essentially to grow companies for pharma adoption, so I think as part of what we see now in the landscape of pharma outsourcing R&D they will need to have companies able to take that load and those companies will need to be structurally setup to deliver the innovation that pharma wants and I foresee arrangements were pharma and venture capital allied with the innovation ISA maybe charitable funding will actually grow company specifically for pharma rather than serendipitously that will be an exclusive model but I think that be something will see more often in the future, so this flow of funds will just ocumen that, I think in the UK something to observe is that we have two major charities Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK and Wellcome Trust in their total funding of Kymab recently obviously it made a very innovative step in their own rights. So I think the landscape is changing we have key charitable participants, we have venture capital changing its outlook and what we are trying to introduce is a new flow of capital for biotech funds as part of that improvement of the business environment.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so the world is always changing. Thank you very much indeed Tim, for coming on the show.
Tim Edwards:
It's a pleasure Fintan.
Fintan Walton:
Thank you.
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).
Tim Edwards
Tim Edwards is currently President and Chief Executive Officer of Cellzome, a privately owned drug discovery company identifying a new generation of kinase-targeted drugs to treat inflammatory diseases, using its leading Kinobeads technology. Previously, Tim had various positions at British Biotech plc including Board Director and Acting CEO, and before that was an Investment Banker in London specializing in the healthcare sector. This followed a 14-year period as an entrepreneur in other industrial sectors, managing and developing three privately-held businesses in which he was a major shareholder. Tim is Chairman of the BioIndustry Association, the trade association for innovative enterprises in the UK's bioscience sector; Chairman of The Mulberry Bush Organization, a charity founded in 1948 providing therapeutic and residential care for children aged 5-12 with severe emotional and behavioral difficulties; and a Fellow of the RSA, a charity founded in 1754 which drives ideas, innovation and social change. From 2005-2007, Tim was Chairman of ReOx Limited, a biotech company spun out of the University of Oxford by Peter Ratcliffe FRS and others from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics.
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. BioIndustry Association (BIA) represent 265 members, the majority of which are involved in realizing the human health benefits that bioscience promises. Our headquarters are in central London.