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U.K. Biotech Industry Gets New Guidelines

by Patricia Short
September 11, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 37


The U.K.'s BioIndustry Association (BIA) has published new guidelines to help its members comply with the latest financial regulations.

Supported by the Financial Services Authority, the London Stock Exchange, and the bioscience unit of the British government's Department of Trade & Industry, the guidelines aim to underpin investor confidence in the industry. Such confidence is seen as essential to the U.K. bioscience sector's continued growth and stability.

Since BIA first published a Code of Best Practice in 1999, the financial and corporate governance landscapes have changed dramatically, the association says. The new guidelines reflect the introduction last year of a new set of government rules regulating a variety of company actions, including corporate communications and listing on the stock exchange.

Aisling Burnand, chief executive of BIA, says, "In an industry where many companies are valued on the strength of their R&D pipelines and commercial strategy rather than product sales, timely and transparent communication is key." She predicts that the guidelines will assist members in implementing the most recent regulations and in communicating appropriately "for their own benefit and that of the broader industry."

Among the document's main points is that information about a product in R&D should be "fair and accurate, without material omission." The report also stresses that company communications containing scientific terms should include definitions used consistently over time.

In addition to the guidelines, BIA has introduced a basic course in corporate communications for small and early-stage bioscience companies.


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