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GLOBALOUTLOOK RISINGECOSYSTEMS


HEALTHTECH


Beyondthe ‘Golden Triangle’


CAMBRIDGE, OXFORD AND LONDON HOLD A UNIQUE PLACE IN THEWORLD TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION. YESSI BELLO PEREZ REPORTS


in healthtech hubs all over the world. But the question is: what key factors contribute to theemergence of a healthtech ecosystem, and how does this compare across different territories?


T


The Cambridgephenomenon In the UK, established hubs, such as Cambridge, have dominated much of the narrative. The city exemplifies an established ecosystemthat is actively contributing to the global pandemic efforts. In April 2020, the University of Cambridge joined forces with AstraZeneca and GSK to create the Cambridge Testing Centre—a state- of-the-art coronavirus testing facility —and a timely example of howpri- vate and public partnerships are bol- stering healthtech innovation. Cambridge is also the perfect


example of an organically developed ecosystem. According to Martin Frost, the co-founder of robotics com- panyCMRSurgical, Cambridge is founded on several key ingredients: a world-class university, formal indus- try networks, successful entrepre- neurs who are willing and able to get stuck in, and a healthy attitude towards risk and failure. Despite its strong foundations,


Cambridge’s success did not happen overnight. “All these things take


POTENTIAL LIMITATIONS IN AFLEXIBLE EXCHANGE WITH EUROPE IN FUTURE AREACONCERN


16


he outbreak of the novel coro- navirus has shone a light on innovation happening at pace


time,” Mr Frost acknowledges. “Those of us helping to build health- tech businesses today have a lot to thank the early pioneers who had the vision and helped build the Cambridge Science Park in 1970.” Today, the park is home to more


than 130 businesses, including AstraZeneca, which co-developed a Covid-19 vaccine with Oxford University. Cambridge’s academiccommu-


nity alsomakes an invaluable contri- bution. The university’s commercial arm, Cambridge Enterprise, sawits venture funding capacity growby 730% and the amount of spin-outs cre- ated rise by 250% over the past decade. The city benefits from a healthy


venture capital (VC) scene. According to Tech Nation’s 2020 report, the city wasamong the top 10most well- funded cities in Europe in 2019. “In Europe, London and the


‘Golden Triangle’ it forms with Cambridge and Oxford still stand head and shoulders above the other placeswhenit comes to the size and reach of its healthtech ecosystem,” Pierre Socha, a partner atAmadeus Capital, aCambridge-based VCfund, explains. “It’s got plenty of talent, and the highest density of biotech and pharmacompanies outside of the US and entrepreneurial universities.”


Funding in the Golden Triangle According to PitchBook, London is the UK’s most popular destination for healthtech VCs. Companies in the city have raisedmore than $1.6bn since 2015. Megarounds included diagnostics company LumiraDX’s $270m fundraise in January 2019 and its $389.16m round in December 2020. Cambridge is the secondmost


popular destination for VCmoney. In 2015, the city’s ecosystemwas bol-


stered by $24.84m. The following year sawa significant drop in invest- ment ($15.56m), with subsequent recoveries in 2017 ($16.8m) and 2018 ($21.73m). Investment peaked in 2019 when investors poured $133.04m into 11 companies. Some $75.16mwas raised in 2020 and so far this year, companies in the city have received $3.4m. Investors in Oxford—the thirdUK


city in terms of healthtech investment —spent $280.7m from 2015 to date.


Beyondthe Golden Triangle This regionmay be the dominant player, but innovation is also hap- pening elsewhere in the UK. Leeds is home to several medical institutions, including NHS Digital, and Leeds University is investing £40m ($55m) in a research centre called Nexus, which will provide labs and offices for healthtech and other start-ups. BrunoMoraes, country manager


atWayra UK,which runs Health Hub, a healthcare accelerator pro- gramme, says he has also seen “pools of incredible healthtech talent” emerge in places like Manchester— the fifthmost popular destination for VC money, with $79.07min investment since 2015. Across the border, in Scotland,


Wayra runs an artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain programme in partnership with the University of Edinburgh, giving start-ups an addi- tional opportunity to shine in front of industry stakeholders. “These businesses benefit dispro-


portionately fromearly input from corporates ... they also benefit immensely from connections to the NHS,which are harder for smaller companies to get individually,” Mr Moraes added. Edinburgh, ranked fourth in terms of VC investment, has seen


www.fDiIntelligence.com February/March 2021


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