Ambitious strategy is at hand

A prosthetic hand by Touch Bionics, which was acquired by Iceland’s Ossur
A prosthetic hand by Touch Bionics, which was acquired by Iceland’s Ossur

By Frank Simpson

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Scotland’s life sciences sector has seen impressive expansion since 2010. The latest sector figures† show that the sector employs over 37,000 people across some 700 organizations. Company turnover is in excess of $5.2bn and gross value added (GVA) around $2.5bn. Between 2010 and 2014 company turnover increased by 29%, gross value added by 24% and total employment in companies by 13%.

Scotland is a leading global life sciences cluster and in the past few years has seen many positive developments, with a number of international companies looking to expand their presence here. Approximately $375m has been invested over the past three years across the sector, by companies including Capsugel, GSK and Johnson Matthey.

The 2017 Life Sciences Strategy, which will harness the achievements of the sector of the past few years, was developed by the Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group and other contributors representing the various key life sciences subsectors, and using their wider network to ensure a broad input in the process.

Dave Tudor, VP of Primary Supply Chain at GSK, Industry Chair of Life Sciences Scotland, the Life Sciences Scotland industry leadership group (ILG), said: “This is an exciting time for Life Sciences businesses in Scotland. I am delighted with the shape of our refreshed strategy and the strategic themes that have been identified. We now need focus and alignment from across the sector as we create the Working Groups that will plan and coordinate the delivery of this strategy. I look forward to working with everyone to ensure success in the future.”

The Life Sciences Scotland ILG is co-chaired by Paul Wheelhouse, MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, supported by Aileen Campbell, MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament), Minister for Public Health and Sport.

Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “These statistics published today show the value of the Life Sciences industry to Scotland, providing employment for over 37,000 people, with company turnover in excess of $5.2bn – up 29% between 2010 and 2014. I welcome the publication of this ambitious industry-led strategy for the Life Sciences, which support the aim to increase annual turnover by a further 90% to $10bn by 2025.”

Julia Brown, Senior Director of Healthcare, Life and Chemical Sciences at Scottish Enterprise, said:
“I am delighted to see the impressive expansion of the sector over the past few years, which is the result of concerted collaborative efforts from the Scottish life sciences community.”

“Scottish Enterprise will continue to work with the Life Science Scotland ILG, industry and all life sciences sector stakeholders to keep the momentum and achieve the ambitious growth targets.”

In the past two years, Scotland has attracted significant international investment through acquisition. Nikon bought medical technology company Optos, Biopta was acquired by Reprocell, a Japanese stem cell specialist.

Medical technology giant Medtronic purchased anaesthesia specialist Aircraft Medical; Merck bought IOmet Pharma; French specialist Sartorius Stedim acquired BioOutsource, and Icelandic prosthetics specialist Ossur acquired Touch Bionics.

New companies locating in Scotland, including Cellexus, Dexcom and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, HCi Viocare, Orion Health, Sinovet and Greengage, prove just how attractive Scotland is as a place to invest .

With 30% of its portfolio in Life Sciences, the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) is one of the most active investor in Life Sciences in the UK. The Scottish Investment Bank has invested $48.7m in the sector over the past five years, leveraging $123m in private funds, which has been a great stimulus to the sector.
†data from 2014