Globally, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought the life sciences sector into sharper focus, as the world waits patiently for a vaccine to be developed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and currently there are more than 30 vaccines in development across the globe.
Growth Opportunities for Real Estate
The sector has created significant opportunities for real estate developers and investors across the UK and indeed the globe. However, the past few months have shown a much larger real estate interest in the life science sector than at any time during the past 20 years.
In the UK, life sciences is one of the most diverse sectors of the economy and over the years, it has developed and grown into a key sector, now employing 250,000 people across some 6,000 companies.
It is one of the most diverse sectors of the economy. There are more than thirty different branches to the sector, within seven key sub-sectors:
1. Pharma & biotech
2. Discovery & development service
5. Digital health & wellness
6. Ag biotech
7. Industrial biotech
Across the UK, it generates huge revenues, particularly from the global pharmaceutical companies. However there is a burgeoning group of small and medium sized entrepreneurial organisations entering the sector, which bring further employment opportunities, but usually depend upon venture capital funding.
It is a relatively young sector in the UK, which brings opportunity and risk in equal proportions. Historically it has been delivered and owned by large pharmaceutical companies or by universities and local authorities, with the main driver being economic development. Funding is key and over the past five years, we have witnessed increased levels of private and public sector funding into life sciences companies.
Much of the new growth in the UK is likely to emerge from the key ‘Golden Triangle’ clusters of London, Cambridge and Oxford, which offer good access to science and technology talent. Collaboration is also important, along with close relationships with universities and the NHS. Clusters provide a unique mix of talent, finance and infrastructure that make them the driving force for economic growth.
As the sector grows, other centres and cluster are also coming into focus, including Manchester and Leeds in the north of England and Edinburgh and Aberdeen in Scotland.
Innovation in Scotland
For many years, the Scottish Government has designated life sciences as a sector of high growth potential and it has seen circa 7% growth each year since 2010. According to Scottish Enterprise statistics, the sector currently has 771 companies, employing almost 40,000 people and generating some £2.4 billion to the Scottish economy.
Scotland has a strong track record of successful, efficient and safe clinical trials and already has a number of innovation centres and centres of excellence to support businesses.
Scotland is home to an impressive range of multinationals and small and medium enterprises, with a strong track record of supporting emerging start-ups, with a strong entrepreneurial culture in our universities, particularly Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
The universities in Aberdeen have around 12,600 students enrolled in undergraduate and postgraduate science and technology courses, this bringing a wealth of talent to the sector.
Aberdeen can provide the ideal environment for innovation and company growth. The infrastructure is in place, the talent is here and the recent announcement of the biotherapeutic hub, along with other property opportunities, including customised lab space at Aberdeen Energy and Innovation Parks, further emphasises the attractiveness of the location as a centre for opportunity and growth for the life sciences sector.