Despite deep snow and temperatures that rarely made it above freezing, Mayor of London Boris Johnson has completed a successful week-long delegation to the East Coast of the USA to promote the life sciences, technology and cultural strengths of the capital
He was joined in the US by a MedCity group led by Chief Operating Officer Sarah Haywood and including Sir John Tooke of UCLPartners, Paul Workman of the Institute of Cancer Research, Richard Trembath of Queen Mary University of London and Reza Razavi of King’s Health Partners, who enjoyed a series of meetings with key American investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders. Describing the visit as “inspiring and energising”, Sarah Haywood said:
“We were greeted everywhere with genuine enthusiasm for the UK and recognition of our life sciences excellence. Companies want to carry out clinical trials and develop bases here as they bring products to the US market. There is significant collaboration with UK academic centres and an appetite for more.”
The visit started in Boston, where the team announced nearly $40 million dollars of new investment in London’s healthcare base by US companies Gilead Sciences and Mobiquity. Planned visits to Harvard and MIT were rearranged due to snow, but meetings and events went ahead, including with Robert Langer – MIT Institute Professor, inventor and serial entrepreneur, and the most cited engineer in history.
Describing the meeting as a highlight of the trip, Sarah added that his views on how to grow life sciences innovation confirms the road on which the UK is already well advanced:
“Culture change takes time but persevere – you will get there. You need role models – individuals and companies that aspiring entrepreneurs can look at and think ‘they did it, and so can I’. And mixing disciplines – particularly engineers and bioscientists – is where the really important and successful innovations are created.”
She adds: “The UK life sciences sector ticks all those boxes and we can already see the results.”
Read Sarah’s view on the East Coast visit in full on the UK BioIndustry Association’s blog
The visit was jointly organised by London & Partners, the Mayor’s promotional agency for London.