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Progress with commercialisation of UK biotechnology

Progress with commercialisation of UK biotechnology DTI sponsors the fifth inter-BEP conference at Warwick. A new and successful format was devised for the fifth annual conference of the Department of Trade and Industry?s Biotechnology Exploitation Platform (BEP) Challenge on 27-28 April 2004, attended by some 85 delegates transfer from five of the recently established Genetics Knowledge Parks (jointly funded by the DTI and the Department of Health) and from five NHS Innovation Hubs.

BEP Review

Participants gathered at Scarman House, the University of Warwick?s business centre, during the late afternoon of the first day. The meeting started with a summary prepared by the two BEP Programme Managers, Dr Mike Barnes and Dr Gordon Malan, of the output measures that have been recorded by the BEPs since the early days of this DTI-sponsored scheme. Following a successful pilot, the BEP Challenge was launched in 1999 to improve the commercialisation of innovations arising from publicly funded bioscience research. The aim of this conference was to network and exchange best practice in identification, evaluation and commercialisation of these innovations. Twenty consortia awarded funding under the BEP Challenge initiative were represented at this event, along with those involved in technology. The qualitative benefits that have arisen from the BEP programme were also summarised. Subsequent lessons have been learned about people-related and operational issues, both of which have generated successes in biotechnology commercialisation. Further details will be made available on the bioscience industry sector page of the DTI web site ( This was followed by the first of two keynote presentations (summarised on pages 5-8), after which participants enjoyed a lively dinner and the opportunity to discuss matters of mutual interest with contacts old and new.

Best Practice

The second day started with the other keynote presentation. In a departure from previous meeting formats, and in response to delegate feedback, this was Dr Mike Barnes, BEP Programme Manager Dr Gordon Malan, BEP Programme Manager A discussion group on venture capital funding listens as event chair, Dr Ederyn Williams, shares his experience Key collective outputs to December 2003 are impressive and include:
  • 299 patents filed, 36 granted
  • 149 commercial licences signed, estimated lifetime value £28.2 million
  • 90 start-ups established, securing private investment of £31.2 million An analysis of the quantitative data collected was provided, showing the considerable progress made as the BEPs have developed. Comparisons were provided of the different consortia groupings. Those BEPs comprising university partners only, those made up of a teaching university plus NHS Trusts, others involving NHS partners only, and those BEPs with a specialist area of focus, e.g. cancer, diagnostics, environment, etc, were compared.
Article taken from "Biotech Advantage", Issue # 11, September 2004