London’s status as a leading centre for the life sciences, financial and digital industries has attracted significant new investment by two leading US companies, announced today as Mayor of London Boris Johnson visited Boston as part of a trade delegation to the East Coast of the USA

Gilead Sciences, a Fortune 500 US biotechnology company, is deepening its UK presence with a new commercial HQ in the heart of London from which to grow the company’s portfolio, which includes treatments for HIV/Aids, liver diseases, serious respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The company’s presence in London will foster closer partnerships with clinicians, patient groups and National Health Service and government organisations, as Gilead continues its efforts to broaden access to innovative medicines.

Why Boston biotech should look across the Atlantic – read Eliot Forster in Xconomy

The new London headquarters and expansions of its international operations in Uxbridge and UK research and development headquarters in Cambridge ​represent an increased investment in the UK of $19.6m and a doubling of Gilead’s UK workforce from 2013 to end-2015, with 400 out of 600 UK employees based in London.

Gilead is joined in London by Boston-based Mobiquity Inc, a mobile engagement company with clients including Pfizer, Merck, AbbVie and Weight Watchers. Attracted by London’s strengths in digital health, Mobiquity is basing its $20 million European HQ in the city. Early projects will include working with Pfizer to develop digital technologies that enable people to manage their own health, a key focus for the UK’s National Health Service.

The new investment follows recent announcements by healthcare companies including Merck and Pfizer that they will establish or expand significant operations in London.*

Welcoming the news on day two of his trade delegation to the US East Coast, aimed at strengthening economic and cultural ties between London and the United States, Mayor Boris Johnson said:

“London and Boston are two of the greatest scientific cities on the planet and our phenomenal research institutions are collaborating closely to help spur the discovery of new treatments to tackle disease. Gilead and Mobiquity’s moves to London further underline the growing importance of the life sciences industry in the UK as we look to ensure that this crucial sector becomes a key contributor to the capital’s growth and health.”

Stelios Karagiannoglou, General Manager at Gilead Sciences UK & Ireland, said:

“As a science-led company, we recognise the leading role that London and the UK plays in life sciences research and are delighted to be expanding our presence here so that we can do more to bring new medicines to people who are affected by life-threatening diseases. With many of our customers and stakeholders based in London, or in other cities more accessible from London, the relocation will ensure our UK team can more efficiently connect and collaborate with our partners, and ultimately will support access to innovative new treatments that improve patients’ lives.”

Paul Piebinga, Mobiquity’s General Manager, Europe, added:

“London is a major hub of creativity in Europe as well as a critical economic center in our target sectors of healthcare, media and retail. Given this, it is essential for us to be in London where we can build close partnerships with key healthcare businesses.”

The Mayor is joined in the USA by a delegation from MedCity, launched in April 2014 to lead the growth of the life sciences cluster of the UK’s London-Oxford-Cambridge region – known as ‘the golden triangle’ because of its research, innovation and economic critical mass. Dr Eliot Forster, Executive Chair of MedCity, says:

“The UK and USA are well-matched life sciences partners, and I’m delighted to see the traffic across the Atlantic increasing. London and the south east is in the midst of a sustained period of growth and investment, and that is attracting great people and companies who enrich our region further. Gilead and Mobiquity are excellent examples –different companies with different focuses, both at the forefront of the changing healthcare environment.”

*Recent US healthcare investment in London

Merck – announced a £42m investment in November 2014 to create a new London licensing hub, expand research in Hertfordshire, south east England, and fund clinical research in oncology and dementia

Pfizer – a new Gene Therapy Unit in London focused on rare diseases, to be led by King’s College London’s Professor Michael Linden, announced in December 2014

Johnson & Johnson – J&J Innovation Centre established in London in 2013 to accelerate the world’s best early-stage science and develop new healthcare solutions

About London and the south east

London and the greater south east is a globally leading centre for life sciences, with four of the world’s top 10 universities** plus leading medical research centres including the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, and the national Cell Therapy Catapult, focusing on stem cell research and industrialisation.

The region is being boosted further by a wave of significant new investment. In 2015, the Francis Crick Institute will bring together 1,500 scientists under one roof; construction is well under way at Imperial West, which is co-locating researchers and businesses on 25 acres; and plans have been unveiled for UCL East on the site of the 2012 Olympic Park, a cross-discipline enterprise and innovation centre with a particular focus on health and biological technologies. In south London, the Institute of Cancer Research is creating the world’s second largest cancer research campus, while in Cambridge AstraZeneca is building a Global R&D Centre bringing together 2,000 employees.

**QS World Universities Rankings 2014/15

Published in September 2014, the QS World University Rankings placed MIT first, Imperial College London in joint second, Harvard fourth, and University College London in joint fifth. See the full rankings here:

About MedCity

Established by the Mayor of London with the capital’s three Academic Health Science Centres – Imperial College Academic Health Centre, King’s Health Partners, and UCL Partners – MedCity is a unique collaboration that brings together the outstanding life sciences strengths of London and the greater south east.

Over the next 20 years, MedCity will position the region as a world-leading, interconnected hub for research, development, manufacturing and commercialisation by championing collaboration and entrepreneurship, promoting a joined up and globally distinct life sciences offer, and providing a visible ‘go-to’ point for industry and investors.

About Gilead Sciences

Gilead Sciences is a biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and commercializes innovative therapeutics in areas of unmet medical need. The company’s mission is to advance the care of patients suffering from life-threatening diseases. Gilead has operations in more than 30 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California. For more information:

About Mobiquity Inc

Mobiquity is a mobile engagement provider creating innovative solutions that drive business value. Because mobile is in our DNA, clients benefit from how we expertly and effectively blend the three key disciplines that unleash the power and innovation of mobile computing: strategy, user-centered design and core technology. Since inception in 2011, we have worked with more than 200 companies, including CVS, Fidelity Investments, Ziggo, MetLife, the New York Post, Pfizer, Medavie Blue Cross, The Weather Channel, Putnam Investments, KPN, The Boston Globe and Weight Watchers International.