Scottish Life Sciences

Scotland eyes £8bn life sciences target as awards are presented

The achievements of individuals and organisations were celebrated at Scotland’s Life Sciences Dinner and Awards, while the industry laid out its new strategy, writes Peter Ranscombe.

Scotland’s life sciences industry has set itself the ambitious target of nearly doubling its turnover to £8bn by 2025 as part of its 2017 Life Sciences Strategy. The goal was unveiled at Scotland’s Life Sciences Dinner and Awards, which took place at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh on 2 February.

Data released to accompany the publication of the updated strategy showed that the industry’s turnover grew by 29% between 2010 and 2014 to more than £4.2bn, with the gross value it adds to the economy rising by 24% to around £2bn and its number of employees climbing by 13% to in excess of 37,000 people in some 700 organisations.

Life Sciences montage

“This is an exciting time for life sciences businesses in Scotland,” said Dave Tudor, co-chair of the Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group and vice president of primary supply chain at FTSE100 drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). “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.”

Paul Wheelhouse, minister for business, innovation and energy and co-chair of the group, added: “I welcome the publication of this ambitious industry-led strategy for the life sciences.

“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.

“European Union 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.”

More than 700 people attended the 17th annual awards ceremony, which included an uplifting keynote speech by Sir Andrew Witty, chief executive at GSK. Witty spoke about the need to entice more people with the digital skills that will be needed to handle big data into the life sciences industry and he suggested that companies and organisations should speak more about the work they do to improve people’s lives.

John Brown, who Tudor succeeded as co-chair of the industry leadership group, was presented with a special recognition award to thank him for his services to the industry.

Economic development agency Scottish Enterprise estimates that £300m has been invested in the sector over the past three years by companies including Capsugel, GSK, Johnson Matthey, Piramal Healthcare, Quotient and ThermoFisher Scientific.

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 Industry Leadership Group, industry and all life sciences sector stakeholders to keep the momentum and achieve the ambitious growth targets outlined in this strategy.”

Scottish Enterprise also highlighted the number of significant international investments that have been made in Scotland over the past two years through overseas companies acquiring Scottish businesses: Japanese camera giant 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; technology giant Medtronic purchased anaesthesia specialist Aircraft Medical; Merck bought IOmet Pharma; French firm Sartorius Stedim acquired BioOutsource; and Icelandic prosthetics specialist Ossur acquired Touch Bionics.

The agency also pointed to the number of companies that have located in Scotland, including Cellexus, Dexcom and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, HCi Viocare, Orion Health, Sinovet and Greengage. Investment will also be a key ingredient in growing Scotland’s life sciences sector. The Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), the investment arm of Highlands & Islands Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise, is one of the most active life science investors in the UK.

The SIB has invested £39m in life science companies over the past five years, which in turn has triggered £98.6m of private sector funding. Life science businesses account for about 30% of the bank’s portfolio. As well as its own investments, the SIB is also a cornerstone investor in Epidarex’s £47.5m venture fund. Other investors consist of United States-based drugs maker Eli Lilly, the European Investment Fund and the Strathclyde Pension Fund, along with Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow universities and King’s College, London.

And the winner is...

Life Science Business Leadership Award sponsored by the College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences, University of Glasgow
Winner: Ian Stevens, chief executive, Touch Bionics
Finalist: David Bunton, chief executive, Reprocell Europe
Finalist: Ken Sutherland, president, Toshiba Medical Visualisation Systems

Life Science Entrepreneurial Business Leadership Award sponsored by Complete Resourcing
Winner: Michael Leek, chief executive, TC Biopharm
Finalist: Adam Christie, chief executive, Calcivis
Finalist: Chris McCann, chief executive, Snap40

Innovation Award sponsored by Marks & Clerk
Winner: Inside Biometrics
Finalist: Calcivis
Finalist: Touch Bionics

Investment of the Year Award sponsored by Concept Life Sciences
Winner: Touch Bionics
Finalist: IOmet Pharma
Finalist: TC Biopharm

Innovative Collaboration Award sponsored by IP Pragmatics
Winner: Emblation and Covidien
Finalist: University of Edinburgh and GlaxoSmithKline
Finalist: Lamellar Biomedical and The Beatson
West of Scotland Cancer Centre
Finalist: University of Edinburgh and Janssen

Export & International Trade Award sponsored by Kleboe Jardine
Winner: BASF Pharma Callanish
Finalist: Clintec International
Finalist: Fios Genomics

Community Engagement Award sponsored by Capsugel
Winner: Merck/Bioreliance
Finalist: STEM Pilot – Ayrshire

Special Recognition Award:
John Brown