At present around 60 per cent of biological molecule characterization conducted in Europe takes place in Scotland and in recent months companies like GSK, Life Technologies, Piramal and Ingenza have all announced plans to invest in Scottish plants.
The reason for this influx - according to Scottish Enterprise spokesman Neil McInnesis - is the support such companies receive and the opportunities that are available.
He told in-Pharmatechnologist.com that: “Our focus for the sector is to support the growth of companies in the life sciences sector by offering tailored support through account management programme where an account manager from SE works intensively with a company to understand their business and identify new opportunities for growth both in Scotland and overseas.
“We also offer financial support to encourage companies to invest in Scotland - this includes regional selective assistance and research and development grants, while we offer specialist support to help companies address specific challenges for its business, such advice from Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service to help manufacturers generate efficiencies.”
Scotland also offers advantages for contractors – at least that’s judging by the 60 or so companies in the country that provide research, manufacturing, trial management and testing and compliance services.
McInnes said that: “Scotland has become an internationally sought after location for this sector and testament to this is last week's announcements by two large, global CROs that Scotland is a global preferred site for both companies for conducting international clinical trials.”
He added that: “This is due in part to the comprehensive support environment offered in Scotland …… electronic health records, some of the lowest clinical approvals times in the world, biobanks, excellent translational research, strong academic and clinical environment links with commercial endeavours.”
The ultimate aim – according to the Scottish life sciences strategy – is to increase the Scottish life science sector’s turnover to the ‘aspirational’ target of £6.2bn by 2020 McInnes continued.
If Scotland maintains its ability to attract drug industry investment at the current rate the 2020 target may turn out to have been more a conservative goal than an aspirational one.