Welcome to the Spring edition of Bio Brief. To celebrate Spring (despite the somewhat unseasonal and changeable weather), we have made some changes to the layout which we hope will reflect the new growth in the life sciences sector...

Magnus Williams

Life Sciences venture capital investment upate
by Magnus Williams


Following a record breaking year for venture capital (VC) investment in the UK in 2017 (with more than £5.6 billion being invested in total, and more than £1 billion in university spin-outs alone1), VC investment in the UK generally has dipped slightly in the first quarter of 2018. This may be accredited to an exceptionally high deal flow in the final quarter of 2017, coupled with a high number of “mega-rounds” led by those such as SoftBank’s Vision Fund, and an emerging trend of investors focusing on funding fewer, but later stage, companies (with many of these transactions completing just prior to calendar year-end).

Dr Eileen McMorrow

The new high speed drug discovery path using AI: Where soft IP meets hard IP to form a dynamic alliance
by Dr Eileen McMorrow


A fusion of technologies is happening which promises to revolutionise the drug discovery process, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a key part of this. Various types of Machine Learning (ML) demonstrate what AI is capable of, and the use of such tools is likely to greatly shorten the drug discovery path. Vast amounts of data relating to research papers, small molecules, protein structures, genetics, and animal and human clinical trials can be analysed using ML and other AI capabilities.

Kathy Hills

HMRC failure to renew State Aid approval puts EMI scheme in jeopardy 
by Kathy Hills


Two days before the deadline of April 7th 2018, HMRC announced* that the UK has failed to renew its EU State Aid approval for EMI schemes. This means that presently it is not possible to grant EMI options and raises a number of questions for existing options and the future of EMI schemes. The answers to these questions will depend on whether HMRC does eventually agree the State Aid question with the EU and the extent to which the approval has retrospective effect. In this article we look at the implications and what companies can do next.

Dr Nabil Asaad

Post-Brexit access to the Single Market for medical devices and medicines
by Dr Nabil Asaad


With less than a year to go until the UK leaves the European Union, there is still a lack of clarity as to whether the mutual recognition of medical devices and medicines will continue after the UK’s planned exit date of 29 March 2019 and the end of any transitional arrangements which may extend the UK’s access to the Single Market until 31 December 2020.

Pat Saini

Tier 2 Cap and its impact on the Life Sciences sector
by Pat Saini


A new "sector deal" for life sciences was announced as part of the Industrial Strategy White Paper published by the UK government in November 2017, with further details of the sector deal published on 6 December 2017. The sector deal followed the publication of the government-commissioned industrial strategy report, authored by Professor Sir John Bell, which put forward recommendations to government for promoting the sector's long-term success.

The deal included...

Rachel Bradley

The new European Trade Secrets Directive
by Rachel Bradley


The deadline for Member States to implement the Trade Secrets Directive (the Directive) is 9 June 2018. The Directive is designed to harmonise protection of trade secrets throughout the EU and aims to encourage business to turn their ideas into growth and jobs.

This article is a brief summary of the current legal position in the UK and how the Directive can complement the UK regime.






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