- London leads Europe for life sciences investment in 2017
- Companies raised £909m investment in 2017 and £2.8bn over the past five years
- 63% of the UK’s life sciences investment landed in ‘The Golden Triangle’ of London, Oxford and Cambridge

Investment into London’s life sciences companies reached nearly £1bn in 2017, according to data from MedCity.1 The data compiled by MedCity from the PitchBook database, reveals that total investment into the UK’s life sciences sector reached £2.8bn in 2017 with 63% landing in ‘The Golden Triangle’ of Cambridge, London and Oxford.

This data is hot off the heels of the UK BioIndustry Association and Informa Pharma Intelligence report that revealed UK biotech company IPOs raised more than twice as much money in 2017 (£234m) than in 2016 (£105m).2

Cell and gene therapies companies attracted some of the biggest deals of the year, with Orchard Therapeutics raising $110 million in series B funding; immunotherapy company, Autolus, raising $80m; and Imperial College London spin-out, Cell Medica, closing a £60m Series C round.

Sarah Haywood, CEO, MedCity, said:

“The pace of innovation in the life sciences sector, from genomics to digital health and gene therapies, coupled with a fertile funding environment and supportive regulatory system, has helped fuel this record investment into companies across London, Cambridge and Oxford. The enthusiasm for UK life sciences is encouraging new UK and global investors to plough money into our resilient sector and its spread of life sciences companies.”

Deputy Mayor of London for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, said:

“London is one of Europe’s leading destinations for life sciences investment, which is testament to the innovation emerging from our world-leading universities, companies and research institutions. We are pioneering cutting-edge technologies, life-changing treatments and ground-breaking programmes – the capital offers a huge number of opportunities for investors to support creativity across our thriving life sciences sector.”

Oxford and Cambridge also attracted significant funding in 2017; Oxford-based Immunocore announced investment of $40m by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop immunotherapies for infectious diseases and Cambridge Medical Robotics, a developer of robotic systems for universal minimal access surgery, closed its Series A funding round, raising $46 million in total.

Investment into university spinouts reached record levels in 2017, with spinouts from Cambridge University, University of Oxford and Imperial College London raising the most.3 Commercialisation investment companies such as Cambridge Innovation Capital, Oxford Sciences Innovation and Touchstone Innovations are helping to fund a strong university spinout pipeline, with companies such as Cardian receiving £1.5m seed funding to commercialise a novel implantable device for cardiac failure patients and SpyBiotech raising £4m to develop a molecular superglue for rapid development of vaccines targeting a range of diseases.

Last year also saw the Government’s commitment to the UK’s life sciences sector through its Sector Deals; with MSD announcing it would open a UK discovery centre creating 950 jobs; £40m investment by GSK into a genetic research at its global centre in Stevenage; and AstraZeneca’s £500m global HQ at Cambridge Biomedical Campus coming up this year.


Notes to Editors:

  1. Data sourced from Pitchbook database 9 January 2018

Country comparison

Total Cap Investment (GBPm) Germany UK France Spain Sweden
2013 1,431 1,980 368 124 191
2014 2,576 3,760 6,494 728 2,225
2015 2,355 5,160 1,567 308 77
2016 4,592 3,700 2,079 418 951
2017 9,384 2,700 5,463 866 65
Total 20,340 17,300 15,973 2,445 3,510

Capital City Comparison

Total Cap Investment (GBPm) Paris London Berlin Stockholm Madrid
2013 99.3 258.6 9 737.1 103.6
2014 4,663.7 722.5 934.9 55.7 117.1
2015 1,651.1 504.9 33.7 1.6 2.3
2016 204.5 380.7 17.7 51.4 56
2017 344 908.8 563.5 71.2 40.3
Total 6,962 2,775 1,558 917 319

2. BioIndustry Association and Informa Pharma Intelligence: ‘Pipeline Progressing: the UK’s global bioscience cluster in 2017’: https://www.bioindustry.org/news-listing/new-report-reveals-uk-has-the-strongest-rd-pipeline-in-europe-and-the-uk-sector-is-maturing.html

3. Beauhurst, Funding of UK spinouts 2016/17 https://www.penningtons.co.uk/media/1314304/academic-spinouts-a-report-on-the-funding-of-uk-spinouts-2016-2017.pdf

About MedCity

MedCity exists to promote and grow life sciences investment, entrepreneurship and industry in The Golden Triangle of Cambridge, London, Oxford and the Greater South East.

A collaboration between the Mayor of London and the five Academic Health Science Centres in the region, MedCity acts as a front door for industry, researchers and investors looking for partners, infrastructure and expertise.