BELS Gathers Pace… & The Beat Goes On!

When we last wrote in July, we were heading to the Alumni Summit in Oxford, our first event in the UK and a major milestone for British Expats in Life Sciences (BELS).

Minister for Life Sciences George Freeman MP
Minister for Life Sciences George Freeman MP

An impressive array of overseas alumni, most of them UK expats, gathered in glorious summer conditions at the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford.  The event brought together an audience mix considered to be quite different from the norm, with programme content that addressed key challenges across the health and life sciences spectrum. All attendees left the event vastly richer for the experience, validating our belief that such events should be repeated in the coming years in the UK as a way to re-engage and educate our global expats on developments back in the old country, and strengthen connections with them.  A few of the reactions to what went on:

“a remarkable mix of people….We need to find new ways to talk to each other and work together.  This has been a terrific way to start that dialogue.” Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine, University of Oxford

 “It was inspiring to listen to so many innovators who were able to see the ‘bigger picture’ and make enormous leaps without a backward glance and hard not to come out uninfected!”  Dr. Sarah Blagden, University of Oxford Department of Oncology

“I think you brought together a really interesting group of people with a diverse but stimulating set of presentations.  I would be keen to attend any future event.”  Dan Mahony, Investment Manager, Polar Capital

“It was great to see you in Oxford and congratulations on the conference which I think was a tremendous success.”  Dr. Dominic Behan, CSO, Arena Pharmaceuticals

“This was a fabulous event and a great format.  The panel discussions were extremely informative.”  Dr. Eddie Blair, Managing Director, Integrated Medicines

“The content of the meeting was thought provoking and provided a fascinating insight into how much things are changing within academic research community.”  Dr. John Richards, VP Global Technical Development, The Medicines Company

“What a valuable experience – impressive energy and creativity in our Oxford community, both in ‘the locals’ as well as in the Oxford global diaspora.  I know there will be a great deal of interest in your work as well as in the potential business opportunities when we return to the Bay Area.”  Dr. Theresa Wright, Senior Medical Director, Genentech

“It was a terrific event. Great networking and I learned a tremendous amount.  I would be very interested in participating more in future.”  Dr. Rupert Vessey, SVP Translation, Celgene

We look forward to seeing many more of you at similar events in the future!

And the beat goes on with more good news for the UK life sciences…

Lest anyone think that I am a hopeless Pollyanna, data analysed by Silicon Valley Bank in its mid-year update highlights that the UK is at last earning a reputation for being a biotech finance centre in its own right.  SVB sees four distinct trends in healthcare investing for 2016.  It anticipates even more M&A activity, European biotech will receive more interest, there will be increased US investment in UK biotech, and the sector here will continue to be resilient to macroeconomic events.  Successful fundraising by UK concerns continues with Immunocore raising $320 million, Oxford Nanopore raising $108 million and Shield Therapeutics and Acacia announcing plans for a £110 million and £150 million IPOs respectively.  In addition to the $1.1 billion raised in the UK by venture capital-backed companies in the second quarter of 2015, overseas groups attracted to the London markets include the US’ Verseon and Puretech Ventures, along with Denmark’s UniBio.

Finally, a global study recently placed London as the world’s leading financial centre, wrestling the top spot from New York.

Polyanna I am not!  Keep checking the BELS website to keep abreast of recent news in UK health & life sciences sector.  The UK should be very much on the radar screen of you and your organisations.

Best regards and Happy Fall!

Nigel Gaymond

1 thought on “BELS Gathers Pace… & The Beat Goes On!”

  1. Pingback: UK Life Science News Q3 2015 | British Expats in Life Sciences (BELS)

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