Vision Scotland: Under the microscope

The Scotsman Conferences.
The Scotsman Conferences.

Scotland’s leading life sciences professionals are to examine the progress of the nation’s ambitious strategy for growth, a year and a half after it was published.

The Scottish Government’s Life Sciences Strategy for Scotland 2025 Vision aims to increase the sector’s turnover to £8 billion in the next seven years.

It currently sits at just over half of that thanks to more than 40,000 employees across 700 businesses.

Academics, business owners and government representatives will gather at Life Sciences in Scotland: Moving Forward Together – To 2025 and Beyond, organised by The Scotsman with support from the Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group (ILG), GSK and Marks & Clerk.

The second annual conference will be in two parts and will bring together key areas of the sector including biotechnology, pharmaceutical manufacturing and biomedical technologies.

Ivan McKee, Scotland’s minister for trade, investment and innovation, will address delegates with a speech about the sector’s key priorities for growth.

They include generating revenue and investments into research, topics that have been identified as the most important by respondents of a recent survey by ILG.

Nearly 24 per cent said that upscaling was the most important, while 21 per cent identified research and development as key.

The national event, held at Strathclyde University on 12 November, will be chaired by David Scott, senior director of Livingston-based Tepnel Pharma Services and member of ILG, who has had a 25-year career in pharmaceutical services.

During the morning session, delegates will hear from Andy Evans, chair of the UK’s Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership, who will discuss Scotland’s position for life sciences in the UK.

A presentation will display where Scotland sits globally in regard to the sector and will look at the current life sciences trends in terms of health, pharmaceuticals and medical diagnostics.

Discussions will surround ways in which the sector can improve engagement with the NHS and how the two can be better linked together.

That will require developing the right skills and talent, a topic that will be discussed by Stephen Madden, head of regulatory ADME and Discovery Sciences at clinical test centre Charles River Laboratories.

Scotland’s life sciences skills investment plan aims to generate highly-skilled graduates of PhDs, while colleges are developing technicians and modern apprentices in collaboration with the industry to meet growing demand.

With an entrepreneurial culture in its universities creating more spin-outs than any other region of the UK, according to the Scottish Government, Scotland is in a strong position to meet its target.

It was announced in June that life sciences firms across Scotland would benefit from a £56m manufacturing innovation centre which will be built at Inchinnan, in Renfrewshire.

Speakers will look at how the centre, which aims to unlock £80m of research and development investment in the UK by 2028, can develop new techniques for medicine manufacturing processes.

By doing so, the centre aims to be a benchmark in terms of quality and manufacturing, ensuring that top-rate quality drugs reach the market quickly and efficiently.

Such improvements in manufacturing will be covered in the second part of the conference.

This session will include master classes aimed at young life sciences businesses to show them how to be successful.

They will look at how to increase investments into businesses, recruiting the right people and sourcing the required talent, and reaching export markets.

Use of digital and social marketing and collaboration with universities and government bodies will also be covered.

Dave Tudor, vice president of GSK, and Linda Hanna, strategy and economics director of Scottish Enterprise, will join others in a panel discussion regarding the key steps needed to reach the Vision 2025 targets.

A drinks reception will close the day.

Life Sciences in Scotland: Moving Forward Together – To 2025 and Beyond will be held at Strathclyde University’s Technology and Innovation centre on Monday, 12 November, from 9am to 4pm.

This article featured in the Autumn 2018 edition of Vision Scotland. A digital version can be found here.