Life sciences sector raises £85m in last year

Life sciences companies based in Scotland raised a record level of investment during the last year, underlining the sector’s contribution to the Scottish economy, new figures suggest.
Investment in Scotland's buoyant life sciences firms has soared. Picture: John DevlinInvestment in Scotland's buoyant life sciences firms has soared. Picture: John Devlin
Investment in Scotland's buoyant life sciences firms has soared. Picture: John Devlin

In a boost for the life sciences sector, a report published today by industry body Life Sciences Scotland revealed a combined equity investment raise of £85 million in the 12 months to the end of January.

This represents a 27 per cent increase from investment secured in the previous year.

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The £85m total, which does not include funds raised through initial public offerings, included a “surge” in international capital venture support, according to the report.

It also cites the record equity figures as a symbol of strength in the sector’s wider investment base, highlighting the launch of industry giant GSK’s £54m active pharmaceutical ingredients centre opened last year in Montrose as an example.

The sector now accounts for one quarter of the total business expenditure on research and development in Scotland.

Companies that have secured funding in the past year include AdoRx, BioFilm, Calcivis, CareSourcer, Current (formerly Snap40), DYSIS Medical, Exscientia, Invizius, ScotBio and Ubiquigent.

The Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, awarded almost £8m to life sciences firms in the financial year 2017/18, participating in notable deals such as an $8m (£6.1m) fundraise by Current and £3.15m of follow-on funding raised by Calcivis.

Today’s report comes on the back of recently released data showing that combined annual turnover at Scotland’s life sciences enterprises rose to £5.2bn in 2016, with the gross value added to the economy increasing to £2.4bn.

The industry’s 7 per cent year-on-year growth puts it on course to reach the Life Sciences Strategy for Scotland target of £8bn turnover by 2025.

Dave Tudor, managing director of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre and co-chair of the Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group, said: “Securing equity investment is a crucial part of growing a life sciences business.

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“Few companies will be able to fuel all their ambitions for growth through their own cashflow or bank lending, and so bringing on board external investors can be key to their expansion plans.”

“Such investment not only allows companies to extend their production and manufacturing capabilities, but also stokes their research and development work, creating the products and services we need for the future.”

“Life sciences companies support high-value jobs in their supply chains, and there’s a great opportunity here for other Scottish businesses to share in their growth by becoming suppliers.”

The Scottish life sciences sector supports 40,000 jobs across more than 770 organisations.