Industry leaders met in Birmingham last week to discuss opportunities to drive the region’s future as a cutting-edge life sciences innovation hub.
The life sciences sector looks for innovative solutions to tackle healthcare problems, including new medical technology such as self-administered treatments, data driven clinical trials and the development of new drugs that can be tailored to the individual.
In particular, the sector aims to accelerate the pace of innovation, bringing new products and technology to life more quickly than has been possible in the past.
Hosted by NatWest at Bruntwood SciTech’s Innovation Birmingham Campus, the event brought together organisations including the West Midlands AHSN (Academic Health Science Network), Blake Morgan, Birmingham Tech, BGF (British Growth Fund) and insurance brokers Gallagher.
Discussions centred on how organisations can collaborate to drive sector growth in the region, including providing access to the right funding to enable life science start-ups and SMEs to grow, innovate and thrive.
According to government data, the life sciences sector generates around £80.7 billion turnover nationally, with 6,300 business across the UK. Research from Bruntwood SciTech, shows that the West Midlands already has 10% of the UK’s biological science research power and is in a prime position to grow its presence in the sector.
Cliff Dennett, head of commercial at Bruntwood SciTech, said:
Since the pandemic, life sciences has become a real focus of attention for government, with ambitions to make the UK a leading global hub for research and development in the sector. The West Midlands is in a really strong position in terms of its existing healthcare network, talent pool and population to build on our existing momentum and become a vital hub for life-science innovation in the UK. The development of Bruntwood SciTech’s Birmingham Health Innovation Campus delivered in partnership with the University of Birmingham will provide the infrastructure to support such growth in the region.
Barrie Davison, sector specialist lead at NatWest, said: “It’s been fantastic and enlightening to hear about the healthcare innovation that is happening in the region, from wresearch into genome treatment to vast data studies that will advance new treatments. What came out loud and clear was that there is an immense range of life sciences talent in the West Midlands and that with access to the right funding and support network, there is huge potential for growth.”
Bruce Potter, Partner at law firm Blake Morgan, said:
Today’s event brought together diverse organisations with a shared focus of maximising the opportunities available in the life sciences sector and in doing so supporting innovation that will change lives and improve health outcomes for all, as well as creating exciting new jobs and opportunities within the region.
Tammy Holmes, Head of Delivery, Innovation and Commercial at West Midlands Academic Health Science Network, said: “The life sciences sector has the opportunity to provide answers to some of the biggest problems of our era and the West Midlands is in a fantastic place to become a hub for life science innovation in the UK. With the current talent and offers already available we have the opportunity to build on our success and the WMAHSN is pleased to be able to contribute.”
Debbie Moss, Managing Director at Gallagher, said: “Due to the complex and diverse nature of activities in the life science and medtech sectors, the risk management and insurance requirements of businesses who operate in this space are specialist and unique. We were delighted to provide an insight into the common mistakes we encounter when businesses use non-specialist brokers. We look forward to continuing our association with other partners who are looking to assist with the growth of this sector across the West Midlands.”
Bruce Potter (left) and Barrie Davison at Bruntwood SciTech’s Innovation Birmingham Campus.