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The UK has one of the strongest and most productive life sciences economies in the world. Lorraine Shah reports


One of the key sectors that have been identified as crucial to the long-term success of the UK is life sciences. It has the potential to make a significant contribution not only to the country’s future economic growth, but also to improved healthcare for its citizens.


Fortunately, the UK is already an international centre of excellence in this rapidly growing and transformational area. Comprising cutting-edge industries such as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and medical technologies, the UK life sciences sector is the largest in Europe and second globally, with its companies employing more than 400,000 people. As a result, it is increasingly the location of choice for overseas buyers and investors.


Jane Grady, head of UK Trade & Investment’s life sciences sector group team, says: “It’s a great sector to work in. The UK is a world-leader in life sciences, with it being home to some of the world’s most distinguished scientists and innovators. Our companies are active across the sector and we have a very vibrant SME community. It’s not surprising that many global life sciences companies have chosen the UK as their first choice to do business with and from.”




The UK’s global reputation in life sciences is based on a number of factors. Firstly, the industry is synonymous with innovation. Celebrated for its creativity, exceptional research base and outstanding talent, it boasts a history of discovery and has a reputation for turning innovative ideas into trusted healthcare solutions.


Home to internationally renowned life sciences companies, research institutions and universities, as well as the National Health Service (NHS) – the world’s largest publicly funded healthcare system – the UK is continually engaged in groundbreaking research and translational science, driving the development of innovative medicines and technology.


As a result, UK scientists are regarded as some of the best in the world, winning in excess of 70 Nobel Prizes for their work. They include in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) pioneer Professor Robert Edwards, who was recently named as the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine 2010.




Another reason behind the success of the UK life sciences industry is the wide range of opportunities that it offers, both to overseas buyers and investors. These are enhanced by extensive cross-sector collaboration, with industry, academia, the NHS and government working (Continued on page 38...)



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