Scotland does indeed punch above its weight but not without good reason and justification

To date, 2018 has been another great year for our Life Sciences community. Across the spectrum of different  disciplines that make up Life Sciences in Scotland, both pure science and applied science companies continue to compete and win on a global platform. The success of our scientists in areas such as pharmaceuticals, animal health,  agritech and medical devices (to name but a few) continue to cement the fact that Scotland is a place where Ideas do become Legend. Additionally, our academic and educational base continues to grow with Scotland now home to six innovation centres and ranking among the top three for research productivity and impact.

More than 12 months after the launch of the Life Sciences Scotland strategy, the bedding in of the conference as an annual event our community is starting to come together driving innovation and accelerating growth. The formation of the Cross Party Working group at Holyrood is bringing together business and academic leaders with government and a greater awareness and focus as to the contribution Life Sciences is making and has the even greater potential to make for the Scottish economy. It is a well-used expression that as a community we punch above our weight and whilst that may be correct, it’s not by accident or fortune that Scottish companies are where they are, achieving what they do. A quick look across our key subsectors demonstrates that you can’t punch above your weight if you haven’t got the credibility and the assets that bring value propositions and enhance outcomes.

Scotland’s digital healthcare industry is world-renowned for its innovation with over 60 companies based in Scotland. The Digital Health & Care Institute is innovating a new approach to sharing data which will revolutionise how healthcare is delivered and companies like Calcivis are successful raising funding to take their system through Pre-Market Approval and onto the US marketplace.

Our Animal health, Agritech and Aquaculture industry has over 1000 researchers based in Scotland, the largest cluster in Europe, with our academic centres ranked numbers 1 and 2 in the UK. The Roslin Innovation Centre, opened in August 2017 is now 60 per cent occupied and is in the words of Bill Gates facilitating Edinburgh to be “… a world capital for livestock health and genetics…”.

With over 30 Regenerative Medicine companies providing unique solutions across the whole supply chain, companies like Collagen Solutions PLC have been increasing their international reach through distribution deals in China, facilitating growth opportunities in new and emerging markets.

In terms of Industrial biotech Scotland has been designated by the European Commission as a Model Demonstrator Region for sustainable HV chemical manufacturing. August saw the launch of the Scottish Bioresource Mapping Tool, aimed at providing potential investors and collaborators with an insight into a bioeconomy and circular economy with its sights on delivering £900m turnover by 2025.

From therapeutic devices, through imaging to personal care and assisted living, our medical device sector goes from strength to strength. Companies like Disys Medical Ltd in Edinburgh have been able to raise significant funding and the Clinical Innovation Zone at the Imaging Centre of Excellence has allowed Canon Medical to start collaborative work bringing together engineers, clinical experts, scientists and academics in pushing the boundaries on future diagnostic applications.

And finally with over 9000 scientists working to support drug development from early stage
discovery to full scale global manufacturing, our Pharma services subsector remains a destination of choice for companies like Charles River, BioReliance, Quintiles and a host of SME operations providing support across the whole spectrum.

Scotland does indeed punch above its weight but not without good reason and justification. There has and is a lot to be celebrating in 2018 and against the uncertainty that Brexit may or may not bring, there is no doubt the Life Sciences community in Scotland will continue to do what it has always done, turn ideas into legends.

The conference is a great opportunity to hear first-hand more of what is going on and also to get engaged, contribute, collaborate and network – to develop what is an already leading global life sciences cluster into a global powerhouse that impacts on both to health and well-being and scientific advancement and discovery.

Dave Scott (Senior Director, Tepnel Pharma Services) will Chair the annual Life Sciences Scotland conference at the University of Strathclyde TIC Building on November 12th . For more details and bookings, click here.