Investment by Asia’s largest pharmaceutical company has helped to make life sciences one of the biggest contributors to London’s growth in the first quarter of 2014, new figures show

Takeda, one of the world’s top 15 pharmaceutical companies, doubled its presence in the capital between January and March 2014 with 200 new jobs, according to data from London & Partners, the Mayor’s official promotion agency for London. With a total of 230 new jobs, life sciences is second for growth only to the ICT industry, which created 580 new jobs in the same period. Together the two sectors make up nearly 50% of new jobs from overseas investment in London and 80% of the capital’s incremental economic growth.

The drive to maximise the economic potential of the London-Oxford-Cambridge life sciences cluster is being led by MedCity, launched in April 2014 by Mayor of London Boris Johnson with the aim to create jobs, attract investment, promote entrepreneurship and develop new therapies in the region.

The new life sciences jobs are based in Takeda Development Centre Europe, which was established in London in 2004 and now employs around 400 people to lead and manage its  drug development and European clinical trials activities. The parent company also has strong links to other areas of England, including Takeda Cambridge which is researching new therapies for areas of significant medical need including Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, diabetes, obesity and inflammatory diseases.

Thirty new jobs in London’s life sciences sector were also created by Indian pharmaceutical company Cipla, which last month announced plans to invest up to £100m in the UK to fund the development of respiratory, cancer and antiretroviral medicines.

Welcoming the news, Kit Malthouse, Chair of London & Partners and London’s Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise, said:

“London is a great place to do business, especially in industries that demand a highly skilled, educated workforce. For pharma in particular, where collaboration and outsourcing is increasingly an attractive and cost-effective option, London and the wider south east has a pretty unbeatable offer – with world-leading universities, a major financial sector, regulatory and professional services, and a hugely diverse population of patients for clinical trials, all within a relatively small and highly connected region.

“It’s great news that major international companies are expanding their operations here, especially since by doing so they further enrich the life sciences ecosystem of the UK as a whole.”

Executive Chair of MedCity Dr Eliot Forster says:

“This is a really exciting and fertile time for life sciences in the UK. We are spearheading the kind of ground-breaking research and development that isn’t being done anywhere else, from massive longitudinal studies such as sequencing the genomes of 100,000 people to creating large-scale manufacturing facilities for cell therapy. That opens up real opportunities for companies who want to partner with us, and on our side there is huge enthusiasm to work with industry to get our work out into the market where it can improve the wellbeing of patients.”

London and the greater south east is home to six of the world’s top 50 universities, five out of seven of the UK’s academic health science centres, and leading medical research institutes including the Wellcome Trust, Cancer Research UK, the new Francis Crick Institute and the national Cell Therapy Catapult, which focuses on stem cell research, development and industrialisation and is now investing £55m in its manufacturing capacity. The National Health Service in London provides access to a diverse population of over eight million patients, more than a third of whom were born outside of the UK.

Major UK life sciences research projects include a £300m initiative led by Genomics England to sequence the genetic codes of 100,000 people, and the establishment of the UK Biobank, a major resource that monitors health and lifestyle data from 500,000 people aged 40-69.