UK life sciences on the cusp of a golden age with GBP1.6bn raised in just three months

New data from the BioIndustry Association (BIA) and Clarivate shows that the UK’s biotech and life sciences sector is on the cusp of a golden age driven by strong demand from global investors for UK innovation, with GBP1.56 billion invested in the last quarter (March 2021 – May 2021).

This is the highest total amount ever recorded for a quarter since the trade association began recording this data.

The stellar performance means GBP2.39 billion has been raised in the year to date, compared to GBP2.81 billion in the whole of 2020, which itself was a record year for investment.

A total of GBP1,068 million was raised in venture capital by UK biotech and life science companies.

There were thirteen deals worth over GBP20 million, including four over GBP100 million. UK companies accounted for 60 per cent of the total biotech venture capital invested in Europe, while GBP431m was raised through three NASDAQ IPOs and GBP58 million in follow-on public financings.

Dr Martin Turner, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at the BIA, says: “The scale of these financings suggests 2021 will be another record year of investment into UK biotech companies, with super-sized venture capital deals and NASDAQ listings dominating this quarter’s numbers.

“We continue to see deals being driven predominantly by investors from outside of the UK. Our hope is that the Government’s impending Life Science Sector Vision will be a platform for the UK’s financial institutions to add further fuel to take this sector into a golden age.” 

Steve Bates OBE, Chief Executive of the BIA, says: “Biotech and life science companies have demonstrated their value in the greatest global public health crisis of recent times by finding the vaccines, therapies and diagnostics needed to end the Covid-19 pandemic. The sector will be crucial in addressing future healthcare needs as well as being a crucial economic driver as the UK economy builds back from the impact of the pandemic.”

Nadhim Zahawi MP, Life Sciences Minister, says: “These figures show that our life sciences sector is booming, demonstrating the confidence that global investors have in the UK.

“The extraordinary innovation underway in the sector will not only increase our resilience against future healthcare challenges, but will boost the economy, create highly skilled jobs across the country, and enhance our status as a science superpower.”

Mike Ward, Global Head of Thought Leadership at Clarivate, says: “The UK biotech sector continues to maintain its fundraising momentum and remains one of the world’s leading biotech hotspots. Indeed, in the first half of 2021, UK biotechs raised more money from VC sources than for the whole of 2020, and not only accounted for three fifths of the sums raised in Europe, accounted for more than 10 per cent raised globally. IPO activity was also robust with the UK accounting for almost 10 per cent total raised in the world during Q2 ranking third after Massachusetts and San Francisco.”