UK Life Sciences innovation highlighted by the Prime Minister at global healthcare investment conference


  • Multiple UK deals and investments highlighted at key year opening global life science investment conference
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes keynote address, highlighting strength of UK ecosystem to global investment community 

The UK life science sector is playing a leading role at this year’s JP Morgan healthcare conference, the traditional kick off annual event for the global life science investment community.

Today the Prime Minister Boris Johnson opened the UK keynote session “partnering for Precision Medicine and Population Health” encouraging global investors to “choose the UK as the place to discover, innovate and find the solutions for the future.”

Citing the UK as the best place in the world for partnership working, he said: “From the outset of the pandemic, the British Government worked hand-in-glove with academia and global life science companies to create the partnerships that allowed about half of all the genomic sequencing of new variants to take place in the UK, and of course produced the world’s most popular vaccine.”

As the only global political leader invited to speak to the conference he showcased the UK Life Sciences Vision, the Government and UK life science sector's joint plan to create a thriving UK sector, and tackle the major causes of death and disease to global investors saying: 

“Now we want to apply this formula to the biggest healthcare problems of our age, including cancer, dementia and obesity.  Our aim is to work side-by-side with each and every one of you, mobilising the UK’s national expertise in every field, from clinical research to genomics to health data, to test and trial innovations on a scale big enough to deliver solutions for the world.”  

The Prime Minister referenced BioIndustry Association (BIA) and Clarivate data from 2020 showing the increased investment in UK biotech over the past decade.

“Already, UK biotech financing has multiplied tenfold in the last decade, but we have capacity to absorb much more and join Boston and the Bay Area as one of the world’s top science superclusters.”

The Prime Minister’s words supported the numerous deals and investments announced at the conference involving UK life science innovators. Just in the course of the first day these included:

  • Crescendo Biologics did a $750m deal with mRNA COVID-19 vaccine pioneer BioNTech
  • Adaptate, a leading UK gamma delta T cell company focused on cancer, was acquired by Takeda.
  • Benevolent AI highlighting how their AI technology and workflows identified a previously unknown antiviral mechanism for Eli Lily that led to a rapid regulatory approval of a new antiviral medicine to tackle COVID -19 and investment into the firm.
  • The importance of UK investment in Billingham to the future success of Fujifilm Holding Corporation’s global strategy was stressed by Teiichi Goto Fujifilm’s President and Chief Executive Officer.
  • Alnylam, the US based world leaders in RNAi, highlighting their partnership with the UK’s “Our Future Health” to source novel genetically valid targets.   

Further deals, partnerships and investments are expected to be highlighted throughout the week. Selected UK contributors to the over 600 companies presenting at the JP Morgan conference include:  GSK, Smith+Nephew and Oxford Nanopore today, Autolus and Immunocore on Wednesday and Orchard, Achilles, Freeline, Babylon Health on Thursday.

Steve Bates OBE, Chief Executive of the BIA said: “It’s fantastic to see the Prime Minister flying the flag for the innovative UK life sciences sector with international companies and investors. The discussion and deals at the conference shows that the UK is a world leader in genomics, cell and gene therapies and is at the heart of developing COVID-19 vaccines, which are making such a difference around the world.

“The UK life science sector is well placed to tackle the challenges the Prime Minister laid out in dementia, cancer and obesity but this will require matching our strong record of innovation with unlocking the potential in the City of London. Particular focus must be on pension funds, which could be a key vehicle for accelerating innovative treatments to patients and bringing real returns to future savers.”

Notes to editors

  1. Please contact Jack Fellows, Strategic Communications and Media Manager at the BIA, on [email protected] for more details.   
  2. The BIA and Clarivate will be releasing its complete 2021 data set on UK biotech financing in late January, which is set to be the largest year on record for financing after the sector broke the previous financing record in Q3 2021.
  3. Steve Bates is available to share analysis and give an overview of the conference week and the Prime Minister’s speech in context.