Overseas promotion for sector

Life sciences making moves on global stage

AvantiCellScottish life sciences company AvantiCell Science is partnering medical centres in South-East Asia in a collaboration which could open new global markets with major drug companies.

The move comes as the life and chemical sciences industries unite in a new campaign to promote expansion of the two industries in Scotland.

Ayrshire-based AvantiCell has agreed a deal with the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur to evaluate potential new medicines.

Dr Colin Wilde, AvantiCell’s chief scientific officer, said: “This is an exciting initiative, which will potentially be of great value to drug companies, as they seek new therapies to combat major human diseases.”

AvantiCell Science has been operating for nine years from its Scottish HQ and has increased the number of highly-skilled jobs from four to 20.

The development comes as Scottish life and chemical science firms call on UK and global manufacturers to recognise Scotland as an ideal European base as the sectors seek to achieve ambitious revenue and export growth targets.

Glasgow-based Collagen Solutions has been awarded a Medical Research Scotland Ph.D. studentship, in partnership with the University of Strathclyde.

The company, which develops medical grade collagen components, said it is one of only 13 four-year PhD studentships funded by Medical Research Scotland this year.

University of Strathclyde will work alongside the company to deliver the project.

New campaign

A new industry-led strategy will be launched today to an audience of about 50 business leaders at Encap Drug Delivery’s facility in Livingston, which is on course to double in size following an investment decision by US owners Capsugel.

Senior figures from life and chemical science companies will set out how Scotland provides the infrastructure, connectivity and academic excellence necessary to sustain a thriving manufacturing base.

The life sciences sector is seeking to double its turnover to £6.3bn by 2020, while the chemical sciences sector is aiming to increase exports by 50% from £3bn to £4.5bn by 2020. Over the past three years, life and chemical sciences companies in Scotland have committed almost £1 billion towards expanding their manufacturing facilities.

Key elements of the strategy include:

·         Changing perceptions of manufacturing to recognise that it is a highly skilled, well paid career choice

·         Commercialising research by translating intellectual property into opportunities for manufacturing

·         Strengthening the manufacturing base by identifying and filling gaps in the facilities available to support development and growth

·         Highlighting the benefits of ‘re-shoring’ manufacturing to Scotland from overseas and the strength of the supply chain infrastructure

·         Attracting investment from overseas companies

Dave Tudor, vice-president of global primary manufacturing company GlaxoSmithKline, said: “Scotland has all the necessary attributes and capabilities to deliver strong, innovative and competitive manufacturing in life and chemical sciences.

“Scotland is one of the top five countries in the world for intellectual property generation, there is a competitive and supportive regulatory environment and it is also a great place to live.

“In addition we have brilliant young scientists and engineers studying at world-class universities. Pull all these elements together and Scotland should continue to compete successfully on a global level for an increasing number of high value chemical and life sciences projects.”

Caroline Strain, head of chemical sciences at Scottish Enterprise, said: “We can offer the supply chain and infrastructure essential for successful manufacturing.

“We have a track record of academic excellence and industrial research and development. We’re calling on national and international companies to talk to us to find out more about how they could benefit from all the advantages that Scotland has as a European or Global base.”

Business Minister Fergus Ewing said: “Achieving our goals means generating additional turnover of £5.6bn a year across the two sectors, which is equivalent to replicating the output of Grangemouth, Scotland’s largest industrial complex.

“This will be challenging, but it’s essential that we clearly state the extent of our ambitions if we are to grasp the opportunities. These sectors will continue to make an increasingly important contribution to our economy, through developing our manufacturing base, internationalisation and inclusive growth.

The future possibilities mean that the opportunities in the life sciences and chemical sectors are tremendous for young people today. I would like to promote the work of life sciences and chemical sciences manufacturing sectors so that people in Scotland and beyond associate them with Scotland, in the same way that they do with whisky, food and drink, finance, oil & gas and renewables.”

The next step for the strategy will see task groups led by industry and managed by Scottish Enterprise. Each group will articulate key priorities and milestones to achieve them.

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