The UK has one of the strongest, most dynamic and globally competitive life science industries in the world that generates annual turnover of more than £50 billion, employs over 180,000 people and ranks high in Europe for attracting foreign, direct investment.
And a new report ‘Transforming UK Life Science Sites – A Toolkit for Action’, produced by leaders in the life sciences sector, including the team at Discovery Park Enterprise Zone, hopes to offers support to other areas with underused or vacant science site sites.
The government endorsed report offers a single first source of information and advice for councils, local enterprise partnerships and others involved in the life science sector, sharing best practice from the UK and around the world.
In his foreword to the report, George Freeman, MP for Life Science highlights the experience of Discovery Park and how constructive early discussions ultimately paid dividends when Pfizer took the decision to downsize its operation.
The creation of a multi-business pharma campus has helped to preserve much of the expertise that existed on site under its previous ownership and maintain Discovery Park’s reputation as one of Europe’s leading business parks for science and technology.
The report gives examples of the rapid growth of a number of companies on site, including Mylan, a US-owned pharma company which has grown its staff from 27 in 2012 to over 200 in 2015. Kreston Reeves, an example of a growing number of support businesses on site, has grown its team from three to 30 since 2013.
Paul Barber, Managing Director for Discovery Park, said: “We have been delighted with what we have achieved in such a short time and hope that other areas of the UK can benefit from our experience.
“This new tool kit not only shares our story and those of other leading science parks across the UK, but offers those areas who may be facing similar issues to those faced in Sandwich five years ago, when Pfizer announced its decision to sell the site.
“Nearly four years on we have more than 125 businesses on site, employing 2,400 people following an approach built on collaboration between all the sectors on site to encourage innovation, build the area’s skills base and create more jobs.”
In a statement released to coincide with the report, the minister said: “Former pharmaceutical sites are a huge opportunity for the UK life sciences sector to provide valuable hubs for smaller companies. This toolkit will be a fantastic resource to help protect and grow these existing regional clusters of expertise.”
Other contributors to the report include: Kent County Council, Invest in Dover, Biocity, Cheshire East Council, MSP in Manchester, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills and the Office for Life Sciences.