Scottish ambitions to double the life sciences sector by 2020 could be realised if the ‘perfect storm’ of prevailing conditions are built upon.
This is according to the chief executive of the BioCity Group, Dr Glenn Crocker, who was speaking ahead of his address to the gathering of sector experts at BioScotland on 30 April.
Dr Crocker identifies several factors working together which he believes will have “a profound impact” on the long-term future of the life sciences sector in Scotland.
This includes a combination of new investment funding, the introduction of collaborative research initiatives such as the Technology Innovation Centres and the IMI European Lead Factory compound drug discovery programme based at BioCity Scotland.
This will be coupled with new opportunities arising from the restructuring of global pharmaceutical companies, which heralds a new era in the development of great scientific ideas, he says.
Dr Crocker believe that with active Scottish Government support for the life sciences sector and university spin-out activity ahead of the rest of the UK, the country has the potential to attract ambitious new ventures and significant interest from investors.
He explains: “I am encouraged by what I see coming together to benefit the Scottish life sciences sector. Not only is there high-level government commitment to providing support and funding for innovative new companies, but also the practical infrastructure in bio-science business incubation, not only at BioCity Scotland but in Edinburgh, Glasgow and within the leading research institutions.
“If we combine this with access to specific UK funding streams as well as a strong private Scottish Angels network, new companies with growth potential should thrive here. We may still have to work to attract bigger private investors and VC interest so firms can rapidly scale-up, but I believe they will soon look beyond London and the South East for exciting commercial returns.”
BioCity Scotland celebrated its first anniversary as a bioscience business incubator in January at its Newhouse site, mid-way between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
This had been occupied by MSD until early 2012, but the US-based firm closed the 18-acre research facility 15 months’ ago.
Since BioCity Scotland took over last year, it has started to populate the laboratories and offices by attracting start-up tenants, university spin-outs and more established bioscience companies: to date, 11 companies have joined.