UK biotech records third highest year for investment despite global uncertainty

New figures published today (Wednesday 22 January 2020) by the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) and Informa Pharma Intelligence reveal that the UK biotech sector raised £1.3 billion in 2019. The total is the third highest year recorded by the trade association and since 2012 investment has increased by over 400%.

Highlights from the report, include:

  • A total of £1.3bn was raised by UK-based biotech companies in 2019
  • Over £679m was raised in venture capital, £64m was raised in Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) and £596m in all other public financings
  • The sector has enjoyed five consecutive years of raising over £1billion plus of investment
  • The UK remains the leading cluster in Europe for amounts raised through venture capital, accounting for a quarter (26%) of the continent’s total
  • Long term growth of over 400% since 2012 has cemented the UK’s position as the third global life sciences cluster

Steve Bates OBE, Chief Executive of the BIA said: “The UK biotech sector continues to chart an ambitious global path. With five consecutive years of raising over £1billion and a 400% increase in investments since 2012, the sector is in a very strong position heading into a new decade.

“It’s clear that UK biotech companies remain an attractive investment opportunity for global investors, meaning there’s a greater diversity of capital than we saw five years ago. 

“However, while we welcome overseas investment, diversifying the domestic life sciences investor base is critical to capturing the full benefits of this key sector of the UK economy.

“Government efforts to leverage new scale-up capital through the British Business Bank and the UK pension funds industry should be stepped up, as should grant funding for early-stage companies through the Biomedical Catalyst.”

Kate Rowley, Investment Director, Bioscience Managers, said: “The investment landscape has been perceived as challenging due to both national and global uncertainty but the amount raised by UK biotech companies has continued its upward trend in 2019.

“Despite the continued uncertainty from the global political arena, there are many who see the opportunity to support life sciences as a worthy investment and these investments should help to underpin growth in the sector in 2020 and beyond.”

Mike Ward, Head of Content, EBD Europe, said:  “Globally, investment into life sciences companies remains fairly robust. In the past five years, the global sector has raised more than $140bn in equity. Consequently, biotechs have the resources to translate ground-breaking science into clinically effective solutions for patients.

“In Europe, the UK has maintained its pre-eminent position, accounting for just over a quarter of total VC funding in 2019.”




Notes to Editors:

1. The dataset in this report covers the period from 1 December 2018 to 30 November 2019.

2. For interview opportunities or further information, please contact Jack Fellows, Communications and Media Relations Manager on 0207 630 2196 or

About the BioIndustry Association

Established over 25 years ago at the infancy of biotechnology, the BioIndustry Association (BIA) is the trade association for innovative enterprises involved in UK bioscience. Members include emerging and more established bioscience companies; pharmaceutical companies; academic, research and philanthropic organisations; and service providers to the bioscience sector. The BIA represents the interests of its members to a broad section of stakeholders, from government and regulators to patient groups and the media. Our goal is to secure the UK's position as a global hub and as the best location for innovative research and commercialisation, enabling our world-leading research base to deliver healthcare solutions that can truly make a difference to people's lives.

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