Is UK Life Sciences growth in jeopardy if we exit the EU?

Before we do delve into potential implications, first let us recap how the industry fairs here and now and why the growth has been such a success story for the UK economy. Part of the success is due to disillusionment by investors in other sectors, where stilted revenues forced them to explore other avenues of growth, such as biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. But the growth can also be attributed to the rapid rate of innovation, as well as a desire in the academic sector to set up businesses, fuelling new stock-market listings and long term investment.

Investment and mobility have ensured that the UK has been able to attract world-leading talent, developing talented researchers in life sciences — both for clinically qualified and non-clinically. Mane have seen first hand the wealth of talent that exists in Europe, particularly Ireland and the Benelux region.

Initiatives such as MedCity has been central to kick-starting funding in the sector, linking universities, researchers, start-ups with funding and support to turn scientific breakthroughs into commercial products. There is now an understanding of the human genome and ability to process data in ways we haven’t before and ways of thinking that are collaborative. At the moment, the UK is top in the global rankings when it comes to research. But if people are to look back on this era as a renaissance period, is some of that dependent on wider issues such as Brexit?

As the U.K. prepares to vote this summer in a major referendum on whether it should stay in the European Union or leave it forever, the British biotech industry is imploring voters and the government to stay the course in Europe. At the weekend these worries found a voice as 50 leaders of the biopharma industry in the U.K. and Europe signed a letter in the Financial Times warning against the U.K. leaving the European Union, adding that the U.K.’s membership of the EU “offers various advantages to the life sciences sector.” The signatories warned: “Not only would an exit from the EU negatively impact on the life sciences sector … but would pose significant risks to the U.K.’s attractiveness for inward investment and as a location for the world-leading talent the life sciences sector depends upon.”

Those in favour of an exit suggest that having full sovereignty restored to the U.K. will enable the country to be more pro-science than it is now. The future for Life Sciences may be uncertain, but for now, let’s celebrate the fact it’s a thriving industry that is both pioneering and record-breaking.

The Life Sciences Team at Mane is focused on pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical devices recruitment, bringing sophisticated techniques, extensive industry understanding and over 20 years’ experience, to make significant placements. Contact our team for any project requirements on 01923 470 710.