The range and quality of investment opportunities in UK life sciences has been highlighted in the inaugural Future of Healthcare Investor Forum, hosted by MedCity and the London Stock Exchange

The event brought together speakers including Minister for Life Sciences George Freeman, Deputy Mayor of London Kit Malthouse, and AstraZeneca’s Mene Pangalos, plus successful entrepreneurs and investors.

The Forum began with George Freeman performing the London Stock Exchange’s market opening ceremony.

The rise and rise of UK life sciences – see George Freeman’s interview on CNBC at the conference

The event coincides with the release of new figures showing robust levels of UK public market activity in 2014 and healthcare outperforming wider indices for the last five years:

• £1.25bn raised in life science IPOs and follow on offerings on the London Stock Exchange in 2014 with 2014 witnessing a record level of capital raised in this sector since 2007.

• The FTSE Healthcare (AIM and All Share) Indices have significantly outperformed wider indices over the last five years. In 2014 the FTSE All Share Healthcare Index was up 10% vs. a 3% drop for the FTSE.

Read a round up of tweets from the event

Dr Eliot Forster, Executive Chair of MedCity said: “As a region, we have confidence, ambition and large-scale investment in our life sciences base, and we are firmly in the world’s spotlight. Businesses across the world are being attracted here by opportunities to partner with our academic research centres, NHS and be part of the accelerating process of commercialising their innovations. The opportunities for investors are tremendous.”

Steve Bates, CEO of the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA), said: “The UK is a great place for life sciences: a globally competitive tax and fiscal environment, a collaborative and thriving ecosystem as well as prominence on the government agenda are all key ingredients for success and the BIA is delighted to support an event that will showcase the opportunity for investors.”

Harriet Fear, CEO of One Nucleus, said: “The UK is clearly a global tour de force in life sciences with the largest number of drugs in the pipeline in Europe, a robust and exceptional history and future of creative innovation and of course it is the ancestral home of the likes of blockbuster drugs such as Humira.”

Cathrin Petty, Co-Head of Healthcare Investment Banking, EMEA, at J.P. Morgan, who will open the conference alongside Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor of London for Business and Enterprise, said: “The UK has all the right ingredients to create a successful and sustainable life science market: the science, the clinical development infrastructure and management. We now need the long term capital to fund it.”

Michael Meade, Managing Director, Corporate Finance, Numis, said: “Investors’ appetite for UK healthcare companies was strong throughout 2014. It was particularly pleasing that interest spanned the many sub-sectors of the industry – from biotech to specialty pharma, from diagnostics to medical technology, and from healthcare services to pharma outsourcing services, not forgetting the robust development of IP development specialists. IPO performance has generally been strong, and we expect that this will encourage more investors to look for opportunities within healthcare.”

The Forum was sponsored by J.P. Morgan, Numis and Citigate Dewe Rogerson with industry partners, BIA and One Nucleus