Investment in UK biotech is up 40% in 2019

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Gary O'Neill)
(Image: Getty/Gary O'Neill)

Related tags Cell and gene therapy catapult UK Biotech Uk Brexit BIA

Investment in UK biotech has climbed dramatically year-on-year in the early part of 2019, according to a BIA report.

The figures have been drawn from the period December 2018 to February 2019 and show that UK biotech has raised £182m ($240m), an increase of £50m on the preceding year.

The BioIndustry Association (BIA) suggested that this could see UK biotech break the figure of the previous year, at over £1bn of investment – at the time, a record sum raised.

Steve Bates, CEO of the BIA, said, “This quarter’s data shows the UK’s life science sector has kept calm and carried on whatever has happened with Brexit. It is reassuring that investors have maintained their confidence in the UK’s innovative young biotech companies.”

BIA noted that the funds raised by the UK amounted to approximately a quarter of the total £771m raised in Europe during the period. However, Iceland actually raised more than the UK during this period, after Alvotech, headquartered in Iceland, raised £231m alone.

In the UK, the venture capital firm Medicixi Ventures provided the most individual funding with £36m provided to Inexia and Orexia, both spun out of Sosei Heptares.

UK biopharma industry shows strong signs

In a further positive note for the UK biotech sector, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGTC), a UK government-backed biotech accelerator, announced that the first US company would be utilising its manufacturing centre in Stevenage, UK.

The US biotech TCR2 ​Therapeutics is developing novel T cell receptor therapies for patients with cancer, and will establish its global manufacturing systems and capabilities at the Stevenage site.

“The UK government has shown tremendous leadership in cell therapy manufacturing and we are delighted to be working with such a talented pool of experts,”​ said Garry Menzel, CEO of TCR2​.

The news that investors and companies themselves are still attracted to the UK biotech sector will come as a boost, as Brexit discussions remain in limbo. Previously, biosimilar associations​ and the BIA itself​, among other organisations had warned that Brexit risked undermining UK industry.

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