Bid to boost Scots life science sector by £5bn

Ewing: 'tremendous opportunities'. Picture: John Devlin
Ewing: 'tremendous opportunities'. Picture: John Devlin
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AN INDUSTRY-LED strategy to help Scotland’s life and chemical science sectors boost their turnover by more than £5 billion over the next five years will be launched this week.

Firms in the industry are joining forces to highlight the attractions of Scotland as a European manufacturing base to global companies.

The strategy will be launched to an audience of around 50 business leaders at Encap Drug Delivery’s facility in Livingston, which is on course to double in size following an investment decision by US owner Capsugel.

Senior figures from life and chemical science companies will set out how Scotland provides the infrastructure, connectivity and academic excellence necessary to sustain a thriving manufacturing base.

The life sciences sector is seeking to double its turnover to £6.3bn by 2020, while the chemical sciences sector is aiming to increase exports by 50 per cent from £3bn to £4.5bn by 2020. Over the past three years, life and chemical sciences companies in Scotland have committed almost £1bn of investment towards expanding their manufacturing facilities.

Key elements of the strategy include improving the perception of manufacturing to be a highly skilled, well-paid career choice, commercialising more research and strengthening the manufacturing base by filling gaps in facilities available.

The strategy also aims to highlight the benefits of “re-shoring” manufacturing to Scotland from overseas and the strength of the supply chain infrastructure

Dave Tudor, vice-president of global drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline, which is taking part in the initiative, said: “Scotland has all the necessary attributes and capabilities to deliver strong, innovative and competitive manufacturing in life and chemical sciences.

“It is one of the top five countries in the world for intellectual property generation, there is a competitive and supportive regulatory environment and it is also a great place to live. In addition we have brilliant young scientists and engineers studying at world-class universities.

“Pull all these elements tog­ether and Scotland should continue to compete successfully on a global level for an increasing number of high-value chemical and life sciences projects.”

Business minister Fergus Ewing said: “The future possibilities mean that the opportunities in the life sciences and chemical sectors are tremendous for young people today.

“I would like to promote the work of life sciences and chemical sciences manufacturing sectors so that people in Scotland and beyond associate them with Scotland, in the same way that they do with whisky, food and drink, fin­ance, oil and gas and renewables.”

The next step for the strategy will see task groups led by industry and managed by Scottish Enterprise. Each group will identify and address key priorities and milestones.