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UK life science firms raise 120% more capital in 2021 than the year before

By Steve Charnock
11 May 2022

2021 saw a rather hefty £5.6 billion of venture capital raised by life science companies with UK HQs. That's according to Savills' newest Life Sciences: Trends & Outlook report. The amount represents a 120% more investment than was raised in 2020.

As such, the United Kingdom appears to have further strengthened its position as a global science power. Cambridge, Oxford and London all once again feature in the list of top 25 cities for science globally.

There are currently over 1,000 active 'high-growth' UK life science companies, with a combined headcount of almost 24,000 employees. All of which could benefit from investment.

Key growth areas within the science sector appear to be HealthTech, microbiome-based therapies, immunotherapy, AI, drug discovery, vaccines and cell and gene therapy.

READ MORE: Three high performing SME life sciences companies in the South East of England

Steve Lang is the head of life science research at Savills. He says this about the investment: “The UK is racing up the venture capital rankings, which have historically been dominated by the US and Asia, with London, Oxford and Cambridge combined just above the San Francisco total, which is currently third in the top 25 global cities in terms of capital raised by life science companies in 2021."

"The money that continues to pour into the sector has led to a considerable number of real estate transactions, particularly for laboratory space. However, it is important to note the growing focus on human health, which will require different types of real estate including manufacturing and production facilities.”

Tom Mellows, the head of UK science at Savills, adds this: “It is exciting to see the significant VC investment into UK companies now feeding through into growing occupational demand, which in turn is attracting investor interest and underpinning further development."

"The UK is now an established international hotspot, with the country accounting for a significant proportion of the global life science R&D market, relative to its size. What’s more, the policy to drive a levelling-up agenda to grow the sector is a credible plan to help complement more mature markets in the South East and Eastern regions.”

Among the sizeable science-related schemes to expect are the proposed development of the Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation Snowsfields site in London Bridge - worth £350 million - by Oxford Properties and Reef Group. There's also the sale of the £400 million Glaxo life science site in Stevenage.

READ MORE: Oxford: Green light for new global life sciences district

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