The BioIndustry Association (BIA) has suggested that George Osborne’s Autumn Statement will be of some help to innovative bioscience companies, but could have gone further.
The BIA welcomed the creation of a £75 million fund supporting technology-based small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) to develop, demonstrate and commercialise new products and services, and said it was encouraged that the government has created a Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme.
However, if this scheme is really to have an impact in this sector, it must be targeted at generating long term investment from private sources, rather than short term investments as currently structured.
The BIA has asked government to introduce a Citizen’s Innovation Fund to encourage investment into high growth sectors, such as bioscience.
This scheme would be a tax-free retail investment product allowing £15,000 per person per annum to be invested in funds which are exclusively targeted at innovative SMEs.
A similar scheme in France has funded many bioscience companies has raised €5.5 billion.
“The measures announced by the Chancellor today represent a very small step towards helping bioscience companies in need of finance,” said Glyn Edwards, interim BIA Chief Executive.
“As always we look forward to seeing the detail, but it certainly appears that there is much more the chancellor could do to encourage investment in bioscience companies in the current economic climate.
“The BIA has made representations to government to introduce a Citizen’s Innovation Fund and the BIA will continue to lobby government on this issue.
“We look forward to seeing what more the government has to announce before the end of the year.”