UK on course to become the third largest global biosciences cluster

June 2017

The BioIndustry Association ("BIA") recently published its latest finance report, Building something great: UK's Global Biosciences Cluster 2016 ("the Report"). The Report demonstrates that despite a challenging year of economic and political uncertainty caused by Brexit, and other factors, the UK has not only maintained its strong leadership position in European biotech funding, but also has the strongest and most robust pipeline for future drug development in Europe.

The Report found that in 2016, UK-based biotech companies collectively raised £1.13bn from public and private sources. Key findings also include that UK biotech companies have secured impressive levels of venture capital funding, achieved IPOs despite a cooling market (notably Shield Therapeutics raising £32.5m), and received increasing levels of follow on AIM funding -from 130 (including 8 IPOs) in 2015, to 175 (including 7 IPOs) in 2016.

In relation to venture capital alone, the UK secured over £680m, which accounted for more than a third of the total raised in Europe. Post-Brexit, the Report concluded that, more than half of the European venture capital money will be deployed outside of the EU. The UK is also gaining on the US, having overtaken San Diego (£495m) in relation of the amount of venture capital raised, although is still behind, but catching up to, Massachusetts (£1550m) and San Francisco (£1535m).

Providing the current momentum is maintained, the Report concludes that the UK is in a strong position to maintain its lead in Europe and to close the gap on the two leading life sciences clusters.

Steve Bates, OBE, the CEO of BIA stated that, "The UK continues to be the strongest performer in Europe and it continues to build towards becoming the third global cluster. This is down to the excellence science produced by our entrepreneurial and resilient community that is staffed by great management teams with the capacity to tackle the challenges of working in a global environment."

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