#UK Region’s biomedtech business worth £10bn to local economy


Cambridge has developed an outstanding record of business success, with 4,500 knowledge intensive companies located within 25 miles of the city, with employment growing at 7.4 per cent per annum, writes Harriet Fear, CEO of One Nucleus.

Just one compelling statistic is that it ranks as the top UK city for innovation with 102 patents per 100,000 residents, more than the next seven best performing cities put together.

So where does the life science and healthcare sector sit within all this buoyancy and success? I’d argue right up there! 

Our latest research here at One Nucleus shows that there are approximately 750 life sciences companies here, employing over 15,000 with the sector being worth up to £10 billion a year to the local economy.

In those sectors branded ‘Knowledge Intensive’ (KI), businesses in the life sciences and hi-tech manufacturing are not only larger on average than those in other KI sectors, but also have shown faster growth in turnover relative to employment.

Locally I have it on good authority (there is some significant research soon to be published) that for the region, life sciences represents 21 per cent of KI local employment and 24 per cent of KI turnover – with the R & D part of the sector seeing high growth of 6.9 per cent per annum for employment and 11.5 per cent per annum for turnover.

In terms of focus areas for the sector here in the region, it continues to be a showcase globally – particularly for the translation of research, universally admired. 

There are some interesting trends developing which mirror global activity: as ever a strong commitment to a range of therapy areas and, looking more broadly, fantastic work being undertaken in gene-related research and immunotherapy; huge potential in the convergence space between healthcare and IT, all things big data and of course the personalisation of medicine. 

The list is, of course, not definitive!

East of England region accounts for 15 per cent of UK Life Science jobs

‘Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts’.

This is one of my all-time favourite quotes and I’m sure many readers will recognise it immediately as one of the many insightful, powerful and accurate protestations of one Sir Winston Churchill. In my view it speaks to the very heart of the UK life science and healthcare sector and those who work tirelessly in it. 

Whether as young PhD’s or Postdocs, bench scientists, entrepreneurs, investors, chief executives, business development teams or those focusing their daily lives on Research & Development for the greater human good.
Nowhere in the UK is this courage more noticeable (perhaps because of its sheer critical mass), than here in the Cambridge area. 

At One Nucleus we have just produced our latest twice-yearly newsletter which features much of the deeply innovative and exciting work of our members, many of whom are from this region. In the final cut we were struggling to work out how to keep the e-zine to a manageable read – so many and varied are the good news stories coming out of the sector locally right now. 

Here at Granta Park, where One Nucleus is fortunate to have our office, there are tangible reminders of this courage and success every day – with the construction of the brand new Gilead building here – which promises to be a 93,000 square ft beauty. 

Granta Park will also be home to the pharma giant – US company Illumina, and its major new European headquarters which is in the offing, with investment of between £50 million and £60m in the venture and 500 staff.  
But it isn’t all about the big boys (or girls!). Recent months have seen the fantastic, relatively new kid on the block, Inivata, raising hopes and expectations – and finance of £31.5m.

It’s a really exciting deal, partly because of the focus on improving personalised healthcare in oncology by developing a simple blood test to detect and characterise mutations in tumour DNA but also because of those who are involved in the round – Imperial Innovations; Cambridge Innovation Capital; Johnson and Johnson Innovation and new investor Woodford Patient Capital. 

The company is such a good example of a Cambridge-based company forging ahead in the personalised medicine space, receiving attention and support for its groundbreaking work from tough investors – and all against a backdrop of the original research having been conducted in the Rosenfeld lab, located at CRUK here in Cambridge. Other inspiring SMEs are of course available!

There has been a lot of talk recently in government and investor circles about the need not only to focus on the needs and interests of startups but also on scale-ups. There are great examples of this type of growth here at the moment, too. 

Abzena is expanding the group’s offering into GMP manufacture and acquiring companies on the East and West coast of the US, Domainex is to move into its brand new state of the art laboratory at Chesterford Research Park this summer, and very soon we will see the Wellcome Genome Campus/Sanger Institute launching its new space to the outside world and actively encouraging world-class quality to come here to scale up. All very exciting.

If anyone is in any doubt about the strength and size of the life science and healthcare cluster here in the region, they need look no further for convincing than the recently launched new Strength and Opportunity (2015) Report refreshed by HM Government. 

The national statistics for the sector are compelling: 5,633 companies, 222,000 employees and revenue of £61 billion. The East of England accounts for 15 per cent of the UK’s life science jobs – making it the biggest employer in the sector.

For those of you who like pictorial evidence of robustness, do take a look at the report (link below), which includes a set of maps showing the distribution of life science and healthcare employment, companies and turnover. You’ll need sunglasses for the depth of colour on the various maps showcasing what is going on in and around these parts.


from Business Weekly http://ift.tt/1rl6tqI

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