Life Sciences


In the UK, an integrated network of industry, academia, the NHS and government effectively collaborate to develop ideas which deliver pioneering products and services in Life Sciences.


UK Life Sciences flourish in a trusted and supportive financial and regulatory environment. Location and global connectivity create networks that accelerate business development and commercial success. The recognised gateway to Europe – the largest single market in the world – the UK has a dynamic and diversified economy with a comprehensive infrastructure that cultivates international Life Sciences business.

Innovators are supported by internationally regarded regulatory bodies and highly effective and enforced IP laws, while the UK’s pro-science investment climate offers sophisticated venture-capital markets and a wide spectrum of targeted, accessible public and charitable funding sources.


The UK Life Sciences industry offers a wide range of opportunities. These are exemplified by the NHS, a hub for the development and delivery of new medicines and technologies and a proven research partner.


The UK Life Sciences sector is synonymous with innovation. Renowned for its creativity, exceptional research base and outstanding talent, it boasts a history of discovery and has a reputation for turning innovative ideas into trusted healthcare solutions.

The UK is investing in innovation and growth, including more than £1bn in 2011/12 by our research councils, and almost £1bn annually in the health and NHS research infrastructure. We are also making it more attractive for companies to invest in UK innovation through: the introduction of a Patent Box, allowing a reduced 10% rate of corporation tax for profits attributed to patents from April 2013; improving the R&D Tax Credit for SMEs; and creating a more enabling regulatory environment.

Facts about the UK

  • £50bn – Pharmaceuticals, medical biotechnology and medical technology sectors together comprise around 4,500 firms, employing 165,000 staff, with an R&D spend of nearly £5billion and an annual turnover of over £50 billion.

  • £1bn – There are approximately 200 diagnostics companies in the UK, generating a turnover of over £1 billion.

  • 50 – Of the top 50 global pharmaceutical companies, 37 have sites in the UK and represent 83% of the total pharma sector.

  • 20% – The UK has the largest biopharmaceutical pipeline in the EU, with 20% of biopharmaceuticals in development originating in the UK.

  • 900 – With more than 900 medical biotechnology companies and over 3100 medical technology companies, the UK has one of the largest Life Sciences sectors in Europe.

  • 3,200 – NIHR Clinical Research Networks supported the practical delivery of 3,200 clinical studies in 2010-11 through the recruitment of over 500,000 patients.

Sectors: Science
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