Paul Wheelhouse and Dave Tudor

New 2017 Life Sciences Strategy for Scotland will support growth of sector to £8bn by 2025

The new 2017 Life Sciences Strategy for Scotland launches tonight (Thursday 2 February 2017), at Scotland’s Life Sciences Dinner and Awards, with ambitions of growing the industrial turnover of the life sciences sector to £8 billion by 2025.

Since 2010 the life sciences industry has achieved impressive expansion. The latest sector figures (2014 data) show that the sector employs over 37,000 people across some 700 organisations. Company turnover is in excess of £4.2 billion and gross value added (GVA) around £2 billion. Between 2010 and 2014 company turnover increased by 29 per cent, gross value added by 24 per cent and total employment in companies by 13 per cent.

Scotland is already 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 £300m has been invested over the past three years across the sector, by companies including Capsugel, GSK, Johnson Matthey, Piramal Healthcare, Quotient and ThermoFisher Scientific.

The 2017 Life Sciences Strategy, which will harness the outstanding achievements of the sector of the last 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 Ms Aileen Campbell, MSP, 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 £4.2 billion - up 29 per cent 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 per cent to £8 billion by 2025.

“The sector has delivered a strong performance in recent years and is a key driver of innovation in Scotland with a particularly strong employment impact in and around Scotland’s cities, and that is why it is vital we continue to provide a supportive environment for business growth and fulfil our ambitions to be a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation.

“EU nationals living in Scotland and working in the Life Sciences sector greatly enrich our culture, strengthen our society and boost our economy and the Scottish Government recognises the very welcome contribution they make to our country. That is why we are exploring all possible avenues for Scotland to retain the benefits of EU membership‎."

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 outlined in this strategy.”

In the last two years, Scotland has attracted significant international investment through acquisition. Nikon bought medical technology company Optos, which will become the cornerstone of its new medical group. 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 Ossϋr acquired Touch Bionics.

Also, a number of new companies have located in Scotland, including Cellexus, Dexcom and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, HCi Viocare, Orion Health, Sinovet and Greengage, proving just how attractive Scotland is as a place to invest – and a great location to build and grow a life sciences business.

Scotland has also enhanced its investment offering in recent years, leading to Epidarex establishing a £50m Venture Fund, a £50m venture fund supported by a diverse range of investors, including Eli Lilly’s first venture fund investment within the UK. With 30 per cent 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 £39 million in the sector over the last 5 years, leveraging £98.6 million in private funds which has been a great stimulus to the sector.[i]

This week the Series A investment announcement from TC BioPharm to progress lead product ImmuniCell® to phase III clinical trial in patients with skin, lung and kidney cancer  further demonstrates the attractiveness of Scottish life sciences sector.


Notes to editor:

*Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group

The Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group (LSS ILG), formerly the Life Sciences Advisory Board, is a joint industry, enterprise agencies and government strategy team with an active remit to develop, drive and deliver the Life Sciences strategy in Scotland; developing an environment where ingenuity and innovation can create jobs and wealth for Scotland, as well as genuine benefits for the global community. It fosters support and discussion between key players in the Life Sciences sector and those responsible for government policy-making at the very highest level to ensure Scotland has the best possible environment for fledgling technologies and established players alike.

The LSS ILG is currently chaired by Dave Tudor, VP, Primary Supply Chain at GSK, and co-chaired by Paul Wheelhouse, MSP, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, supported by Ms Aileen Campbell MSP, Minister for Public Health and Sport. The LSS ILG consists of senior representatives from stakeholders across the spectrum of the Life Sciences community: CEOs and Directors from pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical devices and diagnostics companies; research organisations and academic institutions; Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Scottish Government and Scotland’s National Health Service.


[i] The SIB projects/funds are: SCFII; SCFIII; SSF; SVFII; SVFIII; SVF-HIE; Gabriel; Portfolio; and Epidarex Life Sciences Fund.

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