The UK and Europe have rapidly growing life sciences sectors, with both having established and emerging markets in the field. The abundance of strong hot spots across geographies and therapeutic areas, combined with world-class research and industry expertise has led to the rapid growth of biotech innovation across Europe.
The UK in particular plays a unique role as one of the most developed European life sciences markets, with 25 of the top global biopharmaceuticals and 30 of the top medical technology companies currently operating in the UK. It’s home to globally renowned academic research institutions with extensive industry collaborations, from basic science right through to clinical research. This includes key clinical and research partnerships with the publicly funded National Health System (NHS), in addition to utilisation of The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), an independent healthcare regulator, able to act with great agility and speed.
The UK biotech sector is currently undergoing rapid growth, with the publication of The Life Sciences Vision in July 2021 by the UK government, outlining plans to expand and stimulate the UK life sciences sector through pledging £80bn in funding in the next 10 years. By the end of 2018, the UK’s foreign direct investment stock increased by 5%, and since the introduction of the Patent Box Scheme (2013), companies can qualify for a lower corporate tax rate (10%) to profits earned from their UK-registered patented inventions.
Across both the UK and Europe, there are emerging biotech hotspots in Cambridge (UK), Munich (Germany) and emerging Benelux, an upcoming cluster region in Western Europe. In these regions, growth emergences primarily from service providers, cancer therapeutics, immunotherapies and neurological disorders. Many of the leading pharmaceutical corporations, such as Pfizer, Roche and Novartis, also have their global headquarters in Europe. In Germany in particular, which currently exhibits the largest healthcare spending in Europe at 11% of annual GDP, the biotech market took in a record €3bn in stock market and venture capital funding in 2020. This was driven largely by the Covid-19 pandemic, which itself put a spotlight on the European biotech market and its potential against the global market. As of 2019, EU funding for biotech was approximately 15% of overall spending. In addition, the Benelux Union, an international and intergovernmental union of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, currently raises over €115m in biotech venture funding and over €300m in public money each year.
Europe is a undoubtably a major force in the biotech field and has huge potential to grow even further. Through key innovation and accelerations in funding, global companies can benefit and grow in this highly profitable market.