News & resources

 

[02 June] New challenge on the Testing Methods Sourcing Platform on multiplexing respiratory tests

As we move towards the winter flu season, we must consider how to include COVID 19 viral detection into the wider respiratory virus and/or gastrointestinal virus testing regimes. We are seeking testing kits that will deliver multiplexed or syndromic respiratory and/or gastrointestinal viral detection and that will operate on either existing rapid turnaround laboratory platforms, existing near patient care platforms or new technologies that can be deployed into NHS and PHE testing laboratories. These should be ready to deploy within 4-6 weeks.


[01 June] The Academy of Medical Sciences launches COVID-19 preclinical drug development database 

The database maps emerging COVID-19 preclinical drug development research across the UK. The aim is to help researchers identify collaborations, share expertise, materials and methods, avoid duplicating effort and prioritise the most promising research.


[29 May] Letter to Diagnostics Industry from Dido Harding, Executive Chair of the NHS Test and Trace Service

Following the latest government/industry webinar, Dido Harding has written a letter to the diagnostics industry about the Test and Trace Service. 


[29 May] Update on the National Test and Trace Programme webinar | Slides and Recording


[29 May] LifeArc provides £10 million to accelerate 15 clinical trials to find treatments for COVID-19 

LifeArc is providing £10m for clinical trials to find effective therapies for COVID-19. All 15 projects – involving nearly 30 different organisations – were selected for their ability to rapidly start trials in patients and the likelihood of success.


[28 May] Oxford Biomedica Signs Clinical & Commercial Supply Agreement with AstraZeneca, for manufacture of COVID-19 vaccine candidate

Oxford Biomedica has signed a one year Clinical & Commercial Supply Agreement with AstraZeneca. The Agreement relates to the GMP manufacture of the adenovirus vector based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, AZD1222, which recently entered clinical trials at multiple sites in the UK.


[28 May] Government launches NHS Test and Trace service

New guidance means those who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive must isolate for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms.

The service will help identify, contain and control coronavirus, reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.

Guidance on the NHS test and trace service for employers, businesses and workers can be found here.


[26 May] Remdesivir to be available for selected NHS COVID-19 patients

Gilead's anti-viral medicine is being made available on the NHS, early data suggests the treatment can shorten recovery time.


[21 May] The NIHR has published a restart framework for restarting activities paused due to Covid-19

The NIHR has developed a ‘Framework for restart’ , which is a guidance document to support local decision-making


[20 May] European Commission launches new €122 million Horizon2020 funding call for coronavirus projects

New funding is available for projects to repurpose manufacturing for rapid production of vital medical supplies and equipment needed for testing, treatment and prevention, as well as develop medical technologies and digital tools to improve detection, surveillance and patients care. Deadline for submissions is 11 June 2020.


[18 May] Future Fund convertible loan scheme opens for applications 

The British Business Bank has published details of how to apply for Future Fund convertible loans, which opens on Wednesday 20 May, to support to innovative UK companies that typically rely on equity investment and are currently affected by Covid-19


[17 May] Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre to open 12 months ahead of schedule

Up to £93 million government investment to open the UK’s first dedicated Vaccine Manufacturing and Innovation Centre 12 months early


[17 May] Major long-term study will track spread of coronavirus in general population

Up to 20,000 people are being asked to take part in a new UK Biobank-led study to further track the extent of the coronavirus spread across England, Scotland and Wales


[17 May] Prime Minister's article in the Mail on Sunday

The Prime Minister outlines the main elements of the government's plans for the next stage of tackling the coronavirus pandemic


[17 May] Researchers rapidly working to find a coronavirus vaccine will benefit from £84 million of new government funding

Funding includes £65.5 million for the vaccine being developed at the University of Oxford and £18.5 million for Imperial College London


[17 May] Kate Bingham appointed chair of UK Vaccine Taskforce

The Taskforce is supporting efforts to develop a vaccine by working with regulators and scaling up manufacturing. The BIA is working closely with the Taskforce, bringing together a whole range of businesses keen to use their expertise to mass-produce vaccines, as soon as one is ready.


[16 May] COVID-19 detection dogs trial launches

Trials for specially-trained ‘COVID dogs’ that may be able to detect coronavirus (COVID-19) in humans, even before symptoms appear, are set to begin as part of new research


[15 May] Innovate UK launches continuity grants, loans for existing award holders and additional advisory support services

The Innovate UK business innovation support package includes £90 million in continuity grants for existing Innovate UK award holders and £210 million for continuity loans to organisations that have a challenge in continuing a live project for which they are have an award from Innovate UK


[14 May] Roche antibody test given green light by PHE

Roche in talks with the UK government to roll out its coronavirus antibody test kits in the country after they are cleared for UK use by Public Health England


[13 May] Genomics England launches partnership to sequence human genomes in the fight against coronavirus

A whole genome sequencing study will involve up to 20,000 people currently or previously in an intensive care unit with coronavirus, as well as 15,000 individuals who have mild or moderate symptoms understand whether a person’s genetics may influence their susceptibility to the virus


[12 May] €117 million granted for coronavirus treatments and diagnostics through the Innovative Medicines Initiative

5 of the 8 coronavirus innovation projects announced today by the European Commission have UK involvement and two are led by UK organisations


[12 May] Furlough scheme extended until October

The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will remain open until the end of October, the Chancellor announced today


[12 May] Government publishes guidance on working safely during coronvarius

The government has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible, including working in labs and research facilities 


[11 May] Dido Harding appointed to head up test and trace programme

Baroness Harding will lead on the new NHS COVID-19 app, swab and antibody testing, contact tracing, national surveillance as well as immunity certification.


[7 May] CMOs reinforce importance of continued recruitment into clinical trials

The Chief Medical Officers and NHSE Medical Directors have written an open letter to the NHS about recruiting patients into clinical trials for COVID-19 therapeutics, highlighting that a lot of other valuable research is being undertaken across the health and care system.


[11 May] Covid-19 Testing Methods Bulletin No 4

The testing taskforce has issued its latest update bulletin, including details of two new challenges on the crowdsourcing platform


[7 May] AI used to identify drugs with potential to improve survival in severe Covid-19 patients

Data scientists from AI precision medicine company, PrecisionLife, have used a proprietary AI enabled precision medicine platform to identify 59 repurposing drug candidates that could be used to develop new therapeutic strategies to increase the survival rate of patients who develop sepsis while suffering from severe COVID-19


[5 May] New challenges published on testing methods crowdsourcing platform

Two additional challenges have been launched to identify (1) alternatives to swabs for sampling and (2) increasing end to end efficiency and speed of testing


[30 April] AstraZeneca and Oxford University announce landmark agreement for COVID-19 vaccine

AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford agree global development and distribution of the University’s potential recombinant adenovirus vaccine


[30 April] Major home testing programme for coronavirus will track levels of infection in the community

A new programme of home testing for coronavirus will track the progress of the infection across England and is being led by Imperial College alongside colleagues at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, and supported by Ipsos MORI.


[29 April] New trials platform to accelerate the assessment of therapeutic treatments for COVID-19

The ACCORD (Accelerating COVID-19 Research & Development) study brings together a single, UK-wide clinical trial platform provided by the clinical research company IQVIA and NIHR to rapidly test potential drugs through early stage clinical trials and feed them into the UK’s large-scale COVID-19 studies such as the RECOVERY trial, currently the world's largest randomised controlled clinical trial for COVID-19 treatment.


[27 April] New 100% government backed loan scheme for small business

The Government has today announced a new scheme for those in need of smaller loans. Businesses can apply for the new Bounce Back Loans up to a maximum of £50,000, or 25% of turnover, with the government paying the interest for the first 12 months.  The loans will be available from 9am on Monday and the Government will support lending by guaranteeing 100% of the loan.


[26 April] Government launches new online booking system for testing of key workers

The Government has published guidance on Covid-19 testing which means that essential workers who are self-isolating (not able to leave home) can now apply for themselves and for their household to get tested for coronavirus.


[23 April] Government begins large-scale virus infection and antibody test study

20,000 households in England are being contacted to take part in the first wave of a major new government study to track coronavirus (COVID-19) in the general population.


[22 April] BIA welcomes further funding for both Imperial and Oxford COVID-19 clinical trials and manufacturing capability


[21 April] Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre Fast Tracked as Works Progress at Harwell Campus

Construction of the UK’s New Vaccines Centre by Glencar Construction Starts Well Ahead of Schedule as Timelines are Fast Tracked Due to Covid-19


[20 April] Results published from evaluation of antibody tests for coronavirus

The National COVID Testing Scientific Advisory Panel has published a paper showing the performance of current lateral flow devices is inadequate for most individual patient applications

[20 April] £1 billion support package for innovative companies

BIA has welcomed the news that UK businesses driving innovation and development will be helped through the coronavirus outbreak with a £1.25 billion government support package, announced today.

[20 April] Coronavirus Job Retention 'furlough' Scheme up and running

The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme went live today, with businesses able to claim up to £2,500 a month towards staff wages.


[17 April] BIA industry-led vaccine manufacturing group welcomes funding announcement of £14m from UK government, to help rapidly scale up COVID-19 vaccines  

The government has announced a £14 million investment pot to rapidly progress treatments and vaccines. The money announced will support the manufacturing process of COVID-19 vaccines.


[17 April] Further input required to review high potential innovative approaches to RNA extraction

Following an outstanding response to generate new ideas through the testing methods crowdsourcing platform, the taskforce are calling for further input to review the best ideas on RNA extraction


[17 April] Government extends furlough scheme by a month and launches online claim service

HM Treasury have announced an extention to 30 June of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for employees on temporary leave ('furlough'). A new online claim service for the scheme is now available to allow organisations to submit claims to cover wages  


[16 April] Government expands Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme for large businesses

All firms with a turnover of more than £45 million will now be able to apply for up to £25 million of finance, and up to £50 million for firms with a turnover of more than £250 million.

[16 April] Government extends Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme eligibility

Employers can now claim for employees that were employed and on their PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020


[16 April] Government extends lockdown for further 3 weeks and sets out new criteria for easing restrictions

the Government has determined that current measures must remain in place for at least the next 3 weeks and set out 5 criteria to be assessed before it will consider it safe to adjust any of the current measures


[16 April] Biotech sector calls for support package to lessen impact of virus

UK biotech firms could go bankrupt within six months making them easy takeover targets for large overseas companies as the country grapples with the economic fallout from coronavirus, the BioIndustry Association has warned.


[14 April] CEPI launches expression of interest (EoI) for clinical trial sponsors and CRO for clinical trials with COVID-19 candidate vaccines  

In advance of a procurement process, CEPI is looking for organisations with capability and interest in acting as sponsors or CROs for clinical trials involving one or more COVID-19 vaccine candidates - deadline Sunday 19th April 2020, 15:00 CET.


[14 April] CEPI launches expression of interest (EoI) for drug product stage of manufacturing including fill, finish

CEPI have launched an EoI survey (password: COVID-19) to identify manufacturing capabilities that are well established and large scale (>1 million units / month). After collecting initial information, they will look to introduce their COVID19 vaccine developers with organisations who have capabilities, capacity and ability to commit to the response.


[14 April] Sanofi and GSK to join forces in unprecedented vaccine collaboration to fight COVID-19

Sanofi and GSK today announce that they have signed a letter of intent to enter into a collaboration to develop an adjuvanted vaccine for COVID-19, using innovative technology from both companies, to help address the ongoing pandemic.


[10 April] A new sourcing platform has been launched to share novel testing solutions

Ideas are requested in 4 areas: dry swabs for use in virus detection; transport media that inactivates the virus; desktop PCR equipment for point of care testing; and RNA extraction


[9 April] The government issues call for help from businesses to increase testing capacity in the UK as part of its strategy to protect the NHS and save lives

The request is specifically for companies who can manufacture and supply consumables and equipment for coronavirus testing; new or existing types of coronavirus tests for antigens or antibodies; and lab capacity


[9 April] The government has launched a new online portal providing companies with specifications for the most urgent requirements to help with the response to coronavirus

Companies with proposals able to deliver on these specifications quickly and at scale may be able to access a range of support, including accelerated regulatory approval, centralised procurement support if appropriate and, in some cases, development grants.


[9 April] Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has written a letter to UK companies to clarify that there is no restriction on manufacturing continuing under the current rules


[8 April] Government welcomes industry responds to call to arms to build British diagnostics industry at scale

UK’s top pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies are teaming up to rapidly develop and roll out millions of coronavirus tests in the coming months as part of the next phase of the government’s 5-pillar national testing strategy


[7 April] The Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine has published the results of an assessment of molecular and antibody point-of-care tests to support the screening, diagnosis and monitoring of COVID-19

Some devices showed high diagnostic accuracy during controlled testing, but performance data from clinical settings, and a clear understanding of the optimal population and role for these tests in the care pathway, are currently lacking

[7 April] AstraZeneca/GSK/University of Cambridge collaborate to support UK national effort to boost COVID-19 testing

A new testing laboratory will be set up by AstraZeneca, GSK and Cambridge at the University’s Anne McLaren laboratory. This facility will be used for high throughput screening for COVID-19 testing and to explore the use of alternative chemical reagents for test kits in order to help overcome current supply shortages.


[6 April] GSK announces new actions to support the global response to COVID-19

GSK is collaborating with Vir Biotechnology to accelerate existing and identify new anti-viral antibodies that could be used as therapeutic or preventative options for COVID-19


[5 April] Professor Sir John Bell has blogged about the challenges of antibody testing for Covid-19

Sir John notes that no tests to date have performed well and the government will be working with suppliers to identify alternative solutions to scale up antibody testing


[4 April] The Department of Health and Social Care has pubished a policy paper on scaling up testing programmes to tackle COVID-19

The paper sets out how the government intends to scale up testing programmes to provide a test to anyone who needs one


[3 April] The world’s largest randomised clinical trial of potential coronavirus treatments is well underway in the UK

Almost 1,000 patients from 132 different hospitals have been recruited and thousands more are expected to join the Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial.


[3 April] The government has announced a new £20 million grant funding programme for businesses that can help boost the UK’s resilience to the long-term impact of the coronavirus outbreak 

Grants of up to £50,000 are available for technology and R&D businesses to develop innovations that encourage new ways of working and ensure continued productivity across key UK industries. The deadline for applications is 17 April 2020 12:00pm.


[3 April] The government has issued a new call to industry for support on Covid-19 testing 

Government is looking for organisations that can manufacture and supply testing consumables, equipment and laboratory PPE as part of the coronavirus (COVID-19) response.


[1 April] Gilead begins studies in UK to evaluate the safety and efficacy of remdesivir in adults diagnosed with COVID-19 


[1 April] Exscientia announces joint initiative to identify COVID-19 drugs with Diamond Light Source and Scripps Research

Exscientia will first apply its advanced biosensor platforms to rapidly screen 15,000 clinically-ready molecules against key viral drug targets of SARS-CoV-2


[1 April] UK considers virus-tracing app to ease lockdown

A coronavirus app that alerts people if they have recently been in contact with someone testing positive for the virus "could play a critical role" in limiting lockdowns


[1 April] Synairgen doses first patients with COVID-19 drug

UK biotech Synairgen has started dosing patients in its phase 2 trial of SNG001, an inhaled formulation of interferon beta-1a that aims to treat coronavirus infections


[31 March] EMA issues Update on treatments and vaccines against COVID-19 under development

[30 March] Cobra Biologics and the Karolinska Institutet collaborate to develop COVID-19 vaccine

The OPENCORONA consortium has been awarded €3million funding by Horizon 2020 to support emergency research and development against the COVID-19 outbreak


[30 March] Oxford University Covid-19 vaccine trial begins recruitment

Oxford University are developing a vaccine against Covid-19 and are now recruiting volunteers to take part in a clinical trial.  The trial will provide information on the safety aspects of the vaccine, as well as its ability to generate an immune response.


[26 March] Government announces new Self-employment Income Support Scheme

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19


[26 March] NIHR publishes new process and single point of entry for prioritising COVID-19 studies

NIHR has published a statement about establishing and implementing a single, national process to prioritise the COVID-19 studies which hold the most potential


[26 March] Pharmas on one page with action plan to solve COVID-19 together

BioCentury reports that a grand-scale behind-the-scenes effort by the pharmaceutical companies is under way to expedite the creation of therapies and vaccines to treat COVID-19


[25 March]  European Commission plans 12-month postponement to the implementation of the MDR


[23 Mar] Vaccine trials among recipients of £20 million coronavirus research investment

The government has announced that six coronavirus research projects, including two focused on vaccination trials, will be the first to benefit from a share of £20 million investment.


[19 Mar] The Government has published guidance on the definition of critical workers

This includes “those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributers of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment”. 

 

Update 20 March: The government has confirmed that a company letter confirming their role is critical to business continuity should be sufficient for employees to provide to schools asking for evidence of their status.


[20 Mar] The MHRA have announced new arrangements for MHRA Good Practice (GxP) inspections due to coronavirus


[20 Mar] The DHSC has announced that more than 80 medicines used to treat patients in intensive care units have been banned from parallel export from the UK


[18 Mar] UK biotech company Synairgen has announced it is immediately starting clinical trials on Covid-19 after receiving expedited approvals from MHRA.