Ambition is driving businesses forward in Scotland’s life sciences sector


In the first survey of its kind conducted by the industry leadership group, Life Sciences Scotland, results revealed that achieving scale and being ambitious are top priorities for organisations in Scotland’s growing life sciences sector.

Scaling up current sales revenue beyond existing rates of growth was the most common priority for businesses in Scotland. Nearly a quarter of respondents said accelerating sales was their main focus. Collaborating with partners to take business models to the next level and commercialising existing intellectual assets were just some of the other key priorities mentioned.

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This was closely followed by the need to increase research and development and the ability to attract and retain a skilled workforce. Over 40 per cent of respondents said as their organisation grows, they will need additional staff to develop both existing and future products or services.
Access to investment and funding was highlighted as an area where businesses needed more support and guidance, particularly when it comes to securing higher levels of investment. The uncertainty of Brexit was also a worry for companies in the life sciences sector.
Positive mentions in the survey praised the networking environment and connections in Scotland.  45 per cent of participants said networking was extremely beneficial to their organisation, together with the funding and support received from Scottish Enterprise and innovation centres such as Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre and Stratified Medicine Scotland. Collaborating with the NHS in Scotland, having access to world leading research and the skilled and dynamic workforce of Scottish academia were also positive factors of working in Scotland.
According to the survey, over the next five years the biggest challenges facing the community are getting the right financial support to accelerate revenue, attracting the right people with the correct skills and increasing customers and sales.
A spokesperson for the LSS industry leadership group commented: “It is extremely beneficial to hear from the community and reflect on the positives of the industry as well as the concerns. We all realise this is a crucial time for the industry as we work towards our target of achieving a turnover of £8bn by 2025.”
“Life sciences in Scotland has a strong heritage and the sector has been the source of many outstanding medical breakthroughs and discoveries.  We want companies to continue to thrive and have the correct support and guidance in order to scale businesses and increase growth. We can only do this by keeping the industry connected together and listening to the priorities of companies up and down the country.”
Of the participants responding to the survey, the majority of participants came from a range of sub sectors and roles in SMEs including pharmaceutical services, industrial biotechnology and medical technologies. The highest number of participants of the survey came from organisations with an annual turnover of £1m-5m, followed by those with less than £500,000 and those working in organisations with over £5m turnover.

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