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Scotland’s Life Sciences Sector is Thriving, Study Finds

Dominique Adams


Tech Nation

Scottish life science firms raised a record amount of equity investment over the past year as the sector continues to enjoy robust growth.  

Companies in Scotland’s life sciences sector have raised £85 million of equity investment over the past year, including a surge in international venture capital support.

This record amount, revealed by a Life Science Scotland study, represents an increase of 27% on the £67 million investment made during the previous 12 months as the industry continues to boom.

AdoRx, BioFilm, Calcivis, CareSourcer, Current (formerly Snap40), DYSIS Medical, Exscientia, Invizius, ScotBio and Ubiquigent are just some of the companies that secured funding. From 2017 to 2018, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise (SE), Scottish Investment Bank (SIB), invested nearly £8 million and leveraged almost £104 million in the Life Sciences and Chemical Sectors.

This investment represents both directly managed and externally managed funds, and investments into 41 companies, one of which contributed £79 million of private sector leverage.

MMC Ventures, Accelerated Digital Ventures, Epidarex, IP Group, Mercia Fund Managers, Archangel, Par Equity and Lundbeckfonden Ventures are just some of the venture capital firms and business angel groups responsible for providing funding during that year.

SIB has also played a significant role in supporting a range of Scottish life science companies, including the successful $8 million (£6 million) fundraise by Current and the £3.15 million of follow-on funding raised by Calcivis.

This £85 million has helped to cement Scotland’s life science companies as a major force in Business Expenditure on Research and Development (BERD), with the sector accounting for one quarter of Scotland’s total BERD.

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

“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.

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“Growth in life sciences isn’t only important for the sector itself but also for the wider economy. 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.

“Our industry already employs 40,000 across more than 770 organisations, demonstrating the size of the opportunity on offer.”

Such major investments into the sector support the findings of the EY Annual Attractiveness Survey, which suggested that Scotland was the most attractive place outside London for five of the past six years, accounting for around one quarter of all UK R&D investments.

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Dominique Adams

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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