Strong venture capital quarter for UK biotech as sector advances in all quarters

The UK is the place in the world where life science investment works hardest

UK biotech companies continue to demonstrate they command the confidence of global venture capital (VC) investors with £453m raised in the first quarter of 2022, new data published by the BioIndustry Association (BIA) and Clarivate shows. The first quarter is the best for UK biotech VC financing ever recorded by BIA and Clarivate and neither the US nor China enjoyed the same year on year growth.

Alongside this financial investment, the UK biotech and life sciences sector continues to demonstrate its global hub status with a range of significant developments in the first quarter of 2022.

  • Key new companies have chosen the UK for operations including Altos Labs, backed by Jeff Bezos, which announced Cambridge UK as its European base, and EyeBio, founded by American entrepreneurs and chaired by Dame Kate Bingham choosing the UK to base their operations.
  • Key regulatory milestones have been reached in innovative therapies with Oxford biotech Immunocore having their CAR-T therapy being approved by US regulator the FDA.
  • Manufacturing investment has been impressive as Cytiva’s £300m investment into a new manufacturing facility in Cardiff was officially opened and Jazz Pharmaceuticals announced a £75m investment into a new facility at Kent Science Park. 
  • The industrial opportunity in mRNA continued to grow in the UK with the Government’s recent £15.9m investment into the mRNA supply chain at Croda.
  • Life Science real estate investment in laboratories has enjoyed a strategic boost with the Canary Wharf group investing £500m in building life science space in its North Quay development and retail space in Oxford (Clarendon Centre) is being redeveloped with laboratory space.

Steve Bates OBE, Chief Executive of the BIA said: “The UK continues to be a key global hub for biotech and life sciences because our globally renowned research base and well-run companies are being recognised internationally to partner with or invest in. 

“In 2022 the UK is the place in the world where global biotech capital works hardest. This quarter the UK continues to attract investment because companies engaged in and operating from here, are able to be operationally more efficient than elsewhere in the globe.

“That’s because the UK has depth in great science, quality talent, vital genomics and AI capability, modern and growing infrastructure, a competitive tax regime, a collaborative regulator and a proven entrepreneurial track record of being able to do complex things fast – demonstrated by the Vaccine Taskforce way of delivering. This strong base enables UK life science firms to outcompete peers in other clusters.

“As a result, our sector is well poised to deliver further economic benefit to UK taxpayers and local economies, with laboratory space set to be a key part of the British high street and office space, and sector investments occurring in all areas of the UK delivering high skilled well-paid jobs. 

Dr Martin Turner, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the BIA said: “UK biotech companies continue to display their world-class credentials with this record-breaking first quarter for venture capital. While the IPO window may be closed for now, the vast majority of companies have healthy cash runways and will benefit from the talented scientists, data and infrastructure that make the UK ecosystem unique. This recipe for success is why the UK once again accounts for a third of all European private biotech finance raised and demonstrates comparative advantages to make it the best place in the world to start and grow a biotech company.”


Notes to Editors

  1. Breakdown of figures:
  • Venture Capital: £453m
  • IPOs £24m
  • Follow on financing £4m

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