Scotland's support for life sciences and medical technology paying off

11 July 2005

Scotland's strategy to build foreign direct investment in life sciences and technology through a comprehensive government, academic and private corporate support infrastructure strategy seems to have paid off after just a few years. Scotland has established global leadership in stem cell science, cancer and cardiovascular research, neuroscience, genomics, proteomics, bioinformatics and signal transduction biology.

"As a result of our new strategy, we have witnessed an unprecedented growth average of 20 percent in life sciences over the last four years compared with a 15 percent growth rate in the rest of Europe," said Lorna Jack, director, Americas, Scottish Development International. "This growth, both in our private sector and academic communities, provides the life science industry with the innovative solutions necessary to rapidly discover and bring to market therapeutic options that may help combat diseases such as AIDS and provide cost-effective pharmaceutical options to developing countries."

Now home to more than 20 percent of the UK's biotech companies, Scotland is no stranger to innovation and cutting-edge science. Scotland boasts more than 100 years of innovation and medical discovery including the first anaesthesia, CAT scans, MRI's and the cloning of Dolly the Sheep. Scotland's strong history of scientific innovation and discovery combined with its recently revised global life sciences strategy has position Scotland as a global leader in life sciences.

Fuelled by a continuous flow of skilled talent stemming from 13 world renowned universities that house 50 university departments and institutes conducting biomedical research, Scotland's powerful research and technology base includes more than 500 organizations and nearly 26,000 employees.

Recently, Inverness Medical Innovations (IMI), a leading global manufacturer of consumer and professional medical diagnostic products and developer of advanced medical devices headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts announced plans to set up a world-class centre of excellence in Scotland. Over the next three years, IMI plans to invest £37.5 million in the research and development program and following completion, a further £30 million in manufacturing and commercialization of new products. The program is being backed with £30 million from ITI Life Sciences and £3.8 million from the Scottish Executive in Regional Selective Assistance. Other financial support is coming from the Scottish Enterprise network.

"Scotland stands as a world leader in life sciences and biotechnology in part because of our attractive regulatory environment, robust capital investments from the government and funding from private venture capital firms. These factors all contribute to our unprecedented growth in this sector making us one of the most successful life sciences centres in Europe," said Jack. "It is our intention to leverage our leadership position to foster greater global cooperation and share of knowledge to aid efforts in eradicating disease and providing improved healthcare options for developing nations."

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