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UK life science opportunities probed

A new report investigates UK prospects for starting and developing early stage bioscience companies

There are vast, untapped opportunities to start up and develop life science companies across the UK, according to the UK Life Science Start-up Report 2010, published today by Mobius Life Sciences Fund and BioCity Nottingham. The report helps to identify these opportunities and calls for public investment to be targeted at four specific UK regions, as well as highlighting prospects for investors.

It studies early stage life science firms and examines the levels of university spinout activity, the geographic spread of early stage and subsequent investments, the role of bio-business incubators and the likely benefits presented by the restructuring of the global pharmaceutical industry.

Findings indicate that: one third of the life science start-ups launched between 2005 and 2009 were generated by universities; the life science research power of a university has a strong bearing on the levels of spinout and patent activity, although the resources it gives to technology transfer and its strategic importance also play a role; high levels of university life science research activity in a region correlate well with the overall level of life science business activity.

On average, around 36 per cent of start-ups reported receiving investment. The UK average aggregate investment per company was £3.3m. In the South East, the average was £12m, while in the West Midlands, Yorkshire and Wales the average was £0.5m. Nearly half of the start-ups formed in the last five years were located in a bioincubator or biopark. A total of 63 per cent of companies that received investment were based in bioincubators and gained over twice the funds of those not in bioincubators.

Author of the report and CEO of BioCity Nottingham, Dr Glenn Crocker said: "It's not simply about how many start-ups are created; it's about how well university research is turned into business opportunities and the start in life that the companies achieve.

"By focusing greater effort on technology transfer and providing a powerful spinout structure for our seedling ventures we are likely to nurture more successful firms. Moreover, given the likely reduction in public funds, what remains should be concentrated in the four 'hot-spot' regions of Edinburgh/Glasgow; M1 Corridor of Leeds, Sheffield and Nottingham; Manchester/Liverpool and London/Oxford/Cambridge so more can be achieved from targeted government intervention. These areas also contain almost all of the UK's bioscience business incubators, a network ideally placed to help with large pharma outsourcing, as well as delivering government-funded support."

The UK Life Science Start-up report will be published annually.

Download it at: http://tinyurl.com/BioCity-StartUp-Report (pdf download - right click and select 'Save Target As')

22nd September 2010

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