With the help of heritage, future planners

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Determining the structure of DNA. Creating in-vitro fertilization and facilitating the birth of the world’s first experimental baby. Developing the first antibiotics and vaccines. With achievements like these, the UK’s life sciences sector has been punching above its weight globally.

Today, his creativity is still going strong. “The UK’s life sciences sector is world-leading, transforming healthcare and improving our economy,” said Andrew Griffith, UK Minister of State for Science, Innovation and Technology. “Companies like AstraZeneca developed the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine, while GSK continues to pioneer treatments for cancer and HIV.”

Not only has this progress benefited people at home, but it has saved and changed lives around the world. All of this stems from the diversity of businesses represented within the life sciences – a dynamic, collaborative, and forward-thinking sector, combining science, technology, and technology to solve the most pressing global health challenges today.

One of the reasons why the life sciences sector in the UK is a pioneer is strong government support. “Our ability to attract foreign investment (FDI) is evident; in 2022 alone, we saw £1 billion in life sciences from 47 greenfield FDI projects,” says Minister Griffith.

This support comes in many forms, from technical programs and R&D incentives to financial advice and tax incentives.
Life sciences equity financing
a six-fold increase from 2012 to 2022, attracting the largest economy in Europe. The Advanced Research Invention Agency, which was launched in 2021, received $800 million to identify and fund “high-risk, high-benefit” scientific research.

In 2022, the UK government announced that it will increase its total R&D spending £20 billion per year by 2024-2025, which shows a 33% increase in spending over the parliament. The government committed to more funding in May 2023, when Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt unveiled a £650 million “war chest” for the Life Sciences Growth Package. It is bringing together new policies and funding in a range of high-impact areas – including a £38 million biomanufacturing fund and £154 million to boost the UK Biobank, the world’s leading resource for biomedical research.

In addition, there is Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund. Part of the Global British Investment Fund, it sets aside £60 million of funding for pharmaceuticals, medical research, and medical equipment (MedTech). The first part was given in 2023 that four companieswhich received £17 million in public funding and £260 million in private funding.

“This vibrant ecosystem, boosted by initiatives like the Life Sciences Growth Package and our Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund, is creating innovative jobs across the country, from research laboratories in Cambridge to manufacturing plants in Manchester,” says Minister Griffith. The first phase alone was responsible for creating 320 jobs and protecting another 199.


“This vibrant ecosystem, boosted by initiatives like the Life Sciences Growth Package and our Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund, is creating innovative jobs across the country, from research laboratories in Cambridge to manufacturing facilities in Manchester.”

Andrew Griffith, Minister of State, UK Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology


Life Sciences Investment Program (LSIP)
Launched in 2021, the project is managed by British Patient Capital (BPC), which is the largest in the UK in terms of startups and opportunities for growth. The investment firm has over 3 billion assets under management. In January 2023, BPC announced its first LSIP commitment of $48.6 million to SV Health Investors’ SV Biotech Crossover Opportunities Fund.

Apart from funding, the UK government supports international businesses that invest in the country. Sector experts and financial experts at the Business and Trade Department play a vital role in supporting international investors and facilitating smooth business growth after arrival. These experts provide information on financial and tax incentives, home business expertise, and in-depth business advice.

Government support, however, is only one part of the equation. With two of the top five life sciences universities in the world — the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford — the UK has a strong base of life science technology.

There is also great talent within STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). STEM students accounted for 23% of all graduates in the UK in 2021, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. This number continues to rise as the UK Department for Education says more young people are taking up STEM courses than ever before.

In addition, the UK has always had a strong pharmaceutical industry. For example, GSK can trace its history to 1715 and now has nine manufacturing sites in the UK. AstraZeneca, which was created after a merger between British and Swedish companies in 1999, established its headquarters in Cambridge.

This has culminated in a booming field of life sciences. “More than 300,000 people are already employed in the sector, which contributes £108 billion to the UK economy, and the future looks very bright, thanks to the unwavering support of the government, supported by a close partnership with the UK Health Authority and a sector of top universities around the world,” says Minister Griffith.

Consistent government investment has laid the foundation for the genomics industry, boosting the country’s strong science, bioinformatics, and IT industries.

Establishment of
Genomics England
in 2013 to present the first project in the world of 100,000 Genomes shows the commitment of the government to advance the growth of this sector. Genomics England, in partnership with the National Health Service (NHS), sequenced the genomes of 85,000 participants and their relatives, leading to significant insights and advances in the treatment of rare diseases and cancers. In December 2022, the government announced £150 million in funding to support three Genomics England research programmes. They also include the world’s first study to explore the feasibility of using genome sequencing in newborn screening.

At the same time, the UK also has one of the largest MedTech sectors in the world, with more than 4,000 materials. These companies make annual interest payments £34 billion, making everything from basic tools like syringes to more complex tools like robotics. Because of its ability to drive revenue by providing benefits to patients, MedTech is one of the government’s most targeted support sectors.

Another factor that has made the UK a leader in life sciences R&D is the NHS, one of the world’s leading healthcare systems. But what makes this system unique and beneficial for life science research? Another step down is to get the data.

The NHS also has a long and strong history of collaboration between academia and industry, which supports long-term and wide-ranging scientific studies that can improve skills and improve understanding of disease processes.

The UK’s life sciences industry has grown over the past few decades thanks to a combination of heritage, collaboration, and voluntary support from its institutions, as well as its people. With a solid foundation now in place, the country is strengthening these efforts to ensure that this trend continues.

“Beyond innovation, the UK’s life sciences sector plays an important role in improving public health here and abroad,” says Minister Griffith. “Companies like Oxford BioMedica are working on next-generation therapies, while Qiagen provides critical tools for genetic testing. These advances have the potential to make early diagnosis, revolutionize healthcare, and ultimately save lives.”


“Companies like Oxford BioMedica are working on next-generation therapies, while Qiagen provides critical tools for genetic testing. These advances have the potential to make early diagnosis, revolutionize healthcare, and ultimately save lives.”

Andrew Griffith, Minister of State, UK Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology

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