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Barbraham responds to UK Life Science Strategy

Barbraham responds to UK Life Science Strategy

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As part of the UK’s £64B life sciences sector Babraham Bioscience Technologies, (BBT), welcomes the publication of Prof. Sir John Bell’s Life Science Industrial Strategy to the UK Government.

BBT develops and manages the Babraham Research Campus, a co-location of some 60 scale-up and early stage life sciences enterprises alongside world leading academic research from the Babraham Institute.  BBT fully endorses the vision of the strategy to ‘Build our life science industry into a global hub that makes the UK the home of clinical research and medical innovation.’ A vision the Babraham Research Campus has been aligned with for more than 10 years. 

From recommendations published today, there are three distinct areas that particularly resonate with the Babraham Research Campus ecosystem and the role it plays in supporting the UK life science industry, namely:  

(i) Making the UK the best place for life science companies to grow whilst supporting the development of globally competitive life science clusters; 

(ii) Reinforcing the UK science offer by sustained and increasing funding for basic science to match our international competition;

(iii)  Skills improvement and a skills action plan for the industry, with a focus on entrepreneurship, and the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths.

Scale-up from start-up is, and remains, a challenge for life-science organisations and the report sets a ‘Strategic goal: The UK creates four UK companies valued at >£20 billion market cap in the next ten years.’ As a vibrant ecosystem of ambitious life-science companies, the Babraham Research Campus community strongly supports this goal and agrees with the recommendations to achieve this, including the fiscal interventions to improve the opportunity for long-term investment in life-science enterprises to provide sufficient funding to encourage start-ups to scale up. The funding of companies on the Campus exemplifies the new world of ‘Patient Capital’, Global Corporate Venturing plus the involvement of the public markets necessary to achieve this.  

The Babraham Research Campus has been at the forefront of supporting scale ups, both in terms of the space companies require to grow into with the capabilities they need to sustain that growth.  This support is evidenced by the announcement earlier this year of a £35M investment in the campus by Biomed Realty , to create scale-up space for the community on site.  It is also encouraging to note the importance given in the report to the role of clusters, infrastructure and “place” in growing life sciences.  The Babraham Research Campus with its focus on community, capability and connectedness is well positioned to continue to be one of the best places in Europe to start-up and grow a life science venture.  Our plans to provide incubator space for the earliest of start-ups reflects the importance noted in the report on such space, and will undoubtedly add to  the strengths of the Cambridge region.

The companies who chose the Babraham Research Campus as the location from which to start and build their life-science enterprises are based on the best of global scientific discoveries, often generated in the universities and research institutes in our region. Despite the fact that the UK falls behind other countries in investment in the biomedical sciences, both by the public and charitable sectors, it still outperforms key competitors on a per capita basis. It is this investment in science research that leads to the opportunity of discoveries being translated into new treatments, technologies and therapeutics.  The report’s recommendation to increase R&D spending, which should in turn lead to new spin out company opportunities, is wholeheartedly supported by Babraham Research Campus.

Infrastructure and science research is unable to deliver benefits without the right people with the right skills.  Babraham Research Campus is supportive of all the recommendations related to skills, in particular those focused on entrepreneurship and incentivising the varied careers and migration of academic scientists into industry and vice versa. Furthermore, the Campus continues to encourage young people into the STEM subjects by actively supporting the Babraham Institute’s school’s programmes and the outreach work undertaken by companies located on the campus.

Derek Jones, CEO of BBT, commented of the report:

“We welcome Prof. Sir John Bell’s report and its ambition.  Many of the areas discussed, and recommendations the report makes, align with our vison for the Campus, in particular the importance of encouraging globally important scale-ups alongside sustained science funding - which forms the foundation stone for the next generation of companies.  In addition, we must encourage entrepreneurship and inspire young people to engage with STEM subjects.  I believe we already have many of the pieces in place to make a significant contribution to the UK life science strategy, and to reinforce our vision for the UK, Cambridge and Babraham specifically as a great place to start and grow a life science business.  We look forward to the publication of the Government’s life science ‘sector deal’ later this year, for further details of how the recommendations will be carried through into concrete spending commitments and policies. We note the report’s strategic ambition to generate companies valued in excess of £20 Billion market cap over the next 10 years and believe that the Babraham Research Campus community will play its part to deliver this”.

 

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