UK biotech leaders urge policy makers to boost sector as economic climate worsens

The UK biotech sector has continued to attract investment despite global economic headwinds impacting all sectors, new data published by the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) and Clarivate shows today (30 June 2022). The data has been published as biotech leaders visit the Houses of Parliament to press policy makers to make the most of the UK’s competitive advantage to be at the forefront of global innovation in the 21st Century.

The new data on equity investment in the UK biotech and life sciences sector between March and May 2022 shows £450m was raised, compared to £481m in the first quarter of 2022. This included:

  • £277m in venture capital, down 39% from £453m in Q1 2022
  • £173m in public follow-on financings, up 4666% from £3.55m in Q1 2022
  • £4.5m in initial public offerings (IPOs), down 81% from £24m in Q1 2022 

The fall in venture investment is a concern for the sector as it suggests the downturn on NASDAQ may be beginning to filter through to the private markets. The fall in venture capital was compensated for by a large £135m investment in Amsterdam-listed BenevolentAI, meaning the total for Q2 was approximately level with the first quarter of 2022.

The sector has also been buoyed by the recent announcement that mRNA vaccine pioneer Moderna has chosen the UK for a new R&D centre, which will be followed by a manufacturing centre.

Over 30 CEOs and senior representatives of the UK sector are attending the BIA’s 22nd annual Parliament Day to meet policy makers. They are calling on the Government to:

  • Increase public and private investment in the sector by committing to an expanded Biomedical Catalyst grant funding programme and unlocking pension funds for investment in innovative businesses
  • Improve patients’ access to innovative medicines, such as cell and gene therapies, with new flexible routes for evaluation, uptake and reimbursement.
  • Ensure Government policy and R&D funding allows the UK to lead the world in emerging technologies to capture the social, environmental and economic benefits of biotech and life sciences beyond healthcare

Steve Bates OBE, CEO of the BIA, said: “The UK has a truly world-leading biotech and life sciences industry that delivers significant and wide-ranging economic, social and health benefits. The Government has recognised this though the Life Sciences Vision and must now put its money and focus where its mouth is as the global economic situation starts to bite.

“Recent record levels of investment and key decisions by global players like Moderna and Catalent to base R&D and manufacturing within the UK ecosystem shows the competitive advantage we have. There is a global race on to be at the forefront of innovation in the 21st Century and we are urging ministers and MPs not to let success slip through their fingers.

“It is within the Government’s power to unlock the significant capital in our nation’s pension funds and other financial institutions to turbo-charge the UK’s innovate industries, such as life sciences, and fine-tune other policies and regulation so that innovation can thrive in cities and science parks across the country.”

Mike Ward, Global Head of Thought Leadership, Life Sciences & Healthcare, Clarivate said: “While overall global biotech financing is down from last year’s record, the amounts being raised from venture and private resources for early-stage companies remains robust. With the public markets cooling off in response to global economic headwinds, the challenge for biotechs across the globe is attracting growth capital from the capital markets.”

Notes to Editors

1. For more information please contact Jack Fellows, Communications and Media Manager on [email protected]

2. Moderna to open vaccine research and manufacturing centre in UK

3. Catalent Acquires Facility in Oxfordshire to Expand Biologics Capabilities in the UK and Across Europe

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