BELS March 2021 Update

We’re delighted to welcome Dr Rupert Vessey to the BELS Advisory Council. Based in the US as EVP and President of Research & Early Discovery for Bristol Myers Squibb, his work includes several initiatives in the UK. His perspectives on the sector in the UK and globally will be invaluable as we expand the work of BELS to strengthen connections to British-educated life scientists and this important UK sector.

The UK is re-opening as planned, helped along by the vaccination program which now sees over 60% of the country vaccinated, including 95% of those age 50+. And the economic news is surprisingly good with unemployment dropping below 5% and considerable investment flowing to our sector.

Some developments from the UK health and life sciences sector covered in the March 2021 edition of BELS Brief Clips include:

  • The UK government has announced 3 new gene therapy innovation hubs (London, Sheffield and Bristol), a new UK Health Security Agency to combat future pandemics, and a sovereign partnership with government and Abu Dabi’s Mubadala and jointly investing £1 billion in a new UK Life Science Investment Program. 
  • A sampling of investments attracted by UK companies includes: WuXi Tec acquired Oxgene; Achilles Therpeutics closed its IPO; various stages of fundraising has been reported by the likes of Exscientia, Vaccitech, Gyroscope, Touchlight, Exmoor, Inotec, Genomics plc, and Antiverse.
  • Changes are afoot in people and processes in the NHS, NHS Digital, Public Health England and NICE.
  • Research, discoveries and developments continue apace on COVID involving mutations, a key protein and specific inflammatory markers linked to severe cases, a connection between unhealthy hearts and COVID susceptibility, speedy and sensitive testing solutions including one that uses skin swab samples,
  • We also report on developmental work underway involving a new method of analyzing concussion using saliva, a vaccine for gonorrhea, a portable gamma ray imaging camera, a device to help Parkinson’s patients sleep better, findings on myelin and age-related brain deterioration, and more.

An update on the Global Talent Visa herein reminds us to ask that you alert us if you’re contemplating a return to the UK. We often hear about executive and board opportunities with UK organisations. So do keep us abreast of your intentions or interests and we’ll keep you in mind for potential opportunities, of course handled with the utmost discretion in keeping with our privacy pledge to the community. 

You can join BELS and subscribe to BELS Brief Clips here

We are increasingly reaching out to members of the BELS community to introduce ourselves and/or catch up, hear your stories, and explore potential synergies and opportunities. So ping me on if you’re interested in having a brief conversation.

Finally, we’re on the cusp of launching BELS Brief Chats, in video and podcast formats. First up will be a few interviews with life science leaders in the BELS community. We’ll be in touch on this front soon. In the meantime…

Happy Spring!

Nigel Gaymond, BELS Founder & Executive Chair