LONDON _ The U.S. and U.K. biotechnology trade associationshave reached a formal agreement to work on enhancing businesscollaborations between biotech companies on both sides of the ocean.The U.K.'s BioIndustry Association (BIA) and the U.S. BiotechnologyIndustry Organization (BIO) will start by exchanging information andintermingling committee work."The agreement with BIO will assist our membership in buildingrelationships with U.S. companies and advisors and competing moreeffectively in the U.S.," said Paul Haycock, vice chairman of the BIAand CEO of Cantab Pharmaceuticals plc, of Cambridge, England.Louis Da Gama, executive director of BIA, said that the initiative forthe move came from BIA's members. "Our members have been talkingto one another and saying we should work together," Da Gama toldBioWorld Today. This is the first such agreement that BIA has enteredinto.Under the agreement the two organizations will encourage theirmembers to join the sister organization. In all, BIA has about 140members and 50 corporate members, just two of which are alreadymembers of BIO. Of the 540 members in BIO, "about half a dozen"are members of the BIA. BIA's associate members include a numberof law firms, investment banks and accountancy firms with clients inthe sector.US Attractive To BritishAs the leading biotechnology market, the U.S. is clearly attractive forBritish companies. Several have already raised capital in the U.S. Alarge number of American biotech companies have also attractedinvestments from British investment funds.As well as the investment opportunities, companies in the U.S. see theU.K. as an important target. "The U.K. is seen by many U.S. biotechcompanies as the gateway to Europe and many of our members arelooking to establish European operations in the U.K.," said RichardGodown, senior vice president of BIO.A number of British biotech companies are also establishingoperations in the U.S. "BIA is active in lobbying the Britishgovernment and participates in discussions that involve the EuropeanUnion. The group also participated in founding the EuropeanSecretariat for National BioIndustry Associations.Da Gama said that BIA can learn a lot from BIO. "As the U.K. biotechsector matures, opportunities to learn from experiences in the U.S.biotech sector will enhance U.K. success."For more information on BIA, write to: Louis Da Gama, BioIndustryAssociation, 14/15 Belgrave Square, London, SW1X 8PS. Telephone:44 (0) 171 245 9911.For more information on BIO, write to: Carl Feldbaum, BiotechnologyIndustry Organization, 1625 K Street, N.W., Suite 1100, Washington,D.C. 20006. Telephone: (202) 857-0244. n

-- Michael Kenward Special To BioWorld Today

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