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UK biotech pipeline progressing at pace


Steve Bates

Chief Executive, BioIndustry Association (BIA)

The UK’s impressive preclinical and clinical pipeline shows the strength and capability of the UK biotech ecosystem in proding fantastic science that attracts talent and funding from across the globe.

There is money to be made as the UK’s preclinical and clinical pipeline develops, where investors saw strong returns on biotech investments in 2017.

In addition to this, the sector has seen support for the life sciences with the first of the government’s sectors deals and the government’s response to the Patient Capital Review, which reflected many of the calls that the BIA made in its submission, including opening up pension funds which could make a substantial difference to investment into the sector.

New funds available for 2018

The Pensions Regulator will provide clarity around the ability of pension fund managers to invest in venture capital and innovative companies and the government will address barriers holding back Defined Contribution pension savers from investing in illiquid assets, such as private companies.

It is very encouraging to see UK biotech companies scaling and maturing at pace.

A key source of funding in 2018 will be the new funds available through the British Business Bank, whose funding was increased by £2.5bn, with much of this going towards a ‘British Patient Capital’ entity, launching in 2018. This entity will incubate an expanded VC Catalyst programme that will invest on a commercial basis into UK venture and growth capital, alongside private investors. Importantly, fund managers operating in the UK can apply to the existing VC Catalyst programme today. The UK is the most profitable/reliable VC Industry in Europe and will remain an attractive destination for global money.

The third global bioscience cluster

It is very encouraging to see that UK biotech companies are scaling and maturing at pace, and the variety of funding options open to them means we can build the third global cluster in bioscience in the UK.

Our entrepreneurial and dynamic sector is accustomed to working around changes in the external environment. The UK government have also shown their support to UK biotech through their response to the Patient Capital Review and in making the Life Sciences Sector Deal the first for any industry in the UK.

The UK remains one of the most business-friendly locations for life science companies in the world. We boast great science, the ability to hire great talent, a world-class, vibrant ecosystem of scale with a tax position that is better than post Trump reforms in the USA.

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