Events > Healthcare, Life Sciences and Chemicals

Life Sciences

The UK is a global leader in life sciences and healthcare innovation, spanning the NHS, academia, industry and policy.

Through our life sciences heritage, we have built a strong foundation in which we continue to push the boundaries of scientific discovery. This is made possible by the unique collaborative ecosystem we have built, one that allows partnerships to grow and flourish, to deliver world-leading innovation.


It has been an exceptional year for life sciences globally, and the same is certainly true of UK life sciences.

It is not just the scientists in Oxford and AstraZeneca coming together to deliver a vaccine for the world, but the UK industry large and small, stepping up.

If you were to ask the question – why were we successful? The answer is simple. Our foundation is strong.

The UK organisations worked together and in a network, collaborating with government and the National Health Service, to rapidly move from vaccine research into production, to stand up diagnostic testing capability at scale through the Lighthouse Labs, and to run fast and innovative clinical trials which have helped to deliver answers and options for the world in covid vaccines and therapeutics, such as the RECOVERY trial and dexamethasone.

UK Government has a track record of working in partnership with industry, in delivering a long-term life sciences industrial strategy. We want to partner globally and share our knowledge and innovations.

If you are already working in the UK, or if you are starting on your international journey, we would like to work with you to find opportunities in this buoyant sector.

"The UK is a top global hub for life sciences and the leading destination in Europe for life sciences inward investment, home to a large, diverse and fast-growing industry, with more than 6,300 companies turning over £80bn a year and more than 250,000 people working in the sector across the UK."


  • Our talent and science is world class and we had already invested in creating national platforms for innovation, including expert infrastructure for research and manufacturing, and a high performing national clinical research network all ready to work with business.
  • The UK is also a foundry for start-ups; more than one third of all biotech companies formed in Europe since 2012 are based in the UK.
  • And we host many expert services and supply chain companies working all the way along the value chain, to help your business go further, faster.


  • In cell and gene therapies, we’ve grown the largest cluster in Europe.
  • This includes companies such as Oxford BioMedica which, in addition to being Novartis’ production partner for lentiviral vectors for CAR-T, applied this same expertise when the pandemic hit to support the production of the Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine.
  • AI for drug discovery, is achieving great success. Benevolent AI, first identified the potential of Eli Lilly’s baricitinib as a treatment for covid.
  • Exscientia, which recently closed $525m in fresh financing, has already discovered 7 promising drug candidates and shaved 2-6 years off the industry standard timelines, advancing 2 of these candidates into the clinic.
  • The UK is also applying AI in the healthcare setting, such as running a national AI lab and AI award, which will support and accelerate technologies from feasibility through to evaluation in the NHS, including UK companies such as Kheiron Medical, and global companies such as iRhythm and
  • In clinical trials, we recently launched a new Clinical Research Vision - from high throughput patient recruitment centres, to digital clinical trial recruitment and innovative trial designs.
  • We are also making the NHS an active partner to industry in innovation developing and pulling through innovation. Examples include the NHS working with Novartis to trial and pull through a novel cholesterol treatment, inclisiran, and trialling at scale early detection technology such as GRAIL’s Galleri test for cancer.


  • UK Biobank is a ‘household name’, and was a ready resource when covid hit, undertaking four major initiatives – a serology study, a repeat imaging study, a coronavirus self-test antibody study and health data linkage.
  • Our groundbreaking 100,000 genomes project has led to the introduction of the world’s first national genomic medicine service, which is applying whole genome sequencing in routine clinical care.
  • Our Future Health will be the UK’s largest every health research programme. It will recruit up to 5 million adults to be followed over time, building up a detailed picture of health, including genetic data, to transform the prevention, detection and treatment of conditions such as dementia, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. It will also enable breakthrough research and intervention studies.
  • UK industry is equally buoyant, and on track for a record breaking year for biotech finance. And more patient capital is going into the sector, such as the recently announced UK-UAE Strategic Investment Partnership which will apply £1bn to fund life sciences in the UK.
  • This year we have hosted the G7 and will host COP26, leading from the front, with a big emphasis on climate and sustainability. The life sciences industry can step up and help be this change, as can innovation in industrial biotechnology.

UK Biotech offers an array of exciting investment opportunities in drug discovery, vaccine development & advanced analytics.


raised by UK Biotechs in 2018:
almost 40% of the total funds raised by European life sciences companies.

Life Sciences Vision

The Life Sciences Vision outlines government and the life science sector’s ambitions for the sector over the next decade and plans to stimulate a thriving UK life sciences sector. How can we address some of the UK’s most significant healthcare challenges, including cancer, dementia and obesity.


Investment into UK biotech has also grown at unprecedented levels, totalling nearly £20bn in 2020 across mergers & acquisitions, public listings, venture capital and private equity. That figure is set to grow even further into 2021, with over £10bn of investment already reported from private funding rounds and stock market flotations in just the first three months of the year.

We are a destination for international talent and offer tax benefits to innovators, from R&D tax credits and a ‘patent box’, to a new super deduction making it more attractive than ever to invest in plants and machinery.