The launch of a Tech City-style initiative for the life sciences sector is set to attract billions of pounds of investment into London. It also aims to put the sector on a par with financial services in terms of economic contribution.
Known as MedCity, it has been devised as a partnership between the Mayor of London and King’s Health Partners, Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre and UCLPartners.
The initiative has been modelled on the Tech City Investment Organisation which has brought more than 1,300 tech businesses to East London and established Shoreditch as a world-leading hub for the technology sector.
MedCity will see London-based life science organisations – both commercial and academic – working with those in Oxford and Cambridge to raise the profile of the UK as a leading destination for scientific research, development and manufacturing. The aim is to create a world-leading interconnected cluster for the sector; one which will attract life sciences companies of all sizes to the UK.
It will also facilitate collaborative work between the NHS, university science departments and the private sector to spur the development of new treatments. Collaboration with the City to attract more investment will also play an important role in the success of the cluster.
Outlining the vision for MedCity, The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Together with Oxford and Cambridge we form a ‘golden triangle’ of scientific innovation and we need to channel that intellectual pre-eminence into a positive impact on our economy. MedCity will span everything from research to clinical trials to manufacturing, across biotech, med tech and health tech. I am in no doubt that having the whole ‘chain’ from small spin-offs to massive companies doing their research, clinical development and manufacturing here in London and the south east can be as important to our economy as the financial services sector is today.”
These views were echoed by Jo Pisani, Head of UK Pharma and Lifesciences Consulting at PWC, who stressed the importance of a unified brand: “We believe that the MedCity programme is a critical element to deliver the economic ambition for life sciences in London and the Greater South East; presenting a single international brand to connect customers and investors to the life sciences community.”
We will leave the final word to Xavier Rolet, CEO London Stock Exchange Group: “Ensuring the future of the next generation of innovators is key, which is why we are delighted to support the launch of MedCity. As we have seen through the phenomenal success of TechCity, bringing together expertise within concentrated hubs helps to fast track the development of start-up businesses, which form the foundation of the blue chip companies of tomorrow.”
Will life sciences be the next boom industry for London? What other specialist clusters should be developed in the capital?