Scottish life sciences ‘on track’ for £8 billion turnover by 2025

The life sciences sector is on track to be worth £8 billion to the Scottish economy by 2025, according to figures released today.

Scotland's growing life sciences industry is driven by developments in healthtech, aquaculture and agriculture. Picture: Contributed.

New data published by the Scottish Government has found that annual turnover in Scotland’s life sciences industry soared by 90 per cent over a seven-year spell to reach £6.5bn in 2017, the most recent year for which figures are available.

The report also found that gross value added increased by 48 per cent while company employment rose by 20 per cent over the same period.

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Life Sciences Scotland industry leadership group (ILG) attributed the expansion to growing momentum in emerging sub-sectors including healthtech, agritech and aquaculture.

This puts the sector “firmly on track” to exceed its strategic target of £8bn annual turnover in the next five years, according to industry insiders.

The Scottish life sciences sector now employs 41,000 people across more than 770 organisations, including around 670 companies.

The number of life science companies in Scotland has increased by 19 per cent between 2010 and 2017, representing a year-on-year growth of 2.5 per cent.

Figures 'highlight vibrancy'

Life Sciences Scotland ILG co-chair Dave Tudor welcomed the figures. He said: “They confirm the sustained high growth of the life sciences sector since 2010, and if this growth is maintained, we can be confident of exceeding our target for reaching £8bn by 2025.

“There are several emerging sub-sectors, including digital health and care, and aquaculture, animal health and agritech, which are all contributing to this powerful rate of growth.

“We also know there is huge commercial ambition, particularly among the small to medium enterprises, that is a key driver for this accelerated growth rate.”

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Linda Hanna, managing director at Scottish Enterprise, added: “These figures are fantastic news for Scotland and highlight the vibrancy within the life sciences sector.

“Our focus is on continuing to support the sector’s growth by working with partners and businesses to create quality jobs which give people opportunities to flourish, and which nurtures shared wealth and collective wellbeing.”

Trade minister Ivan McKee pointed to investments made by the Scottish Government and its associated agencies, such as a £9.5 million funding boost for the Precision Medicine Scotland Innovation Centre.

The centre aims to drive commercial research and development as well as strengthen engagement between industry, the education sector and the NHS.

Other funding deals in recent months have included University of Aberdeen spin-out Elasmogen, which landed £2m from a specialist venture capital firm to accelerate its work in finding more effective treatments for diseases such as cancer and arthritis.