Healthcare and life sciences

The UK has a unique and globally competitive life sciences ecosystem supported by collaboration across industry, academia, government, the NHS and other health funders.


The UK is a global hub for life sciences, second only to the USA for life sciences inward investment and leading in Europe on life sciences finance. It offers a connected and forward-thinking industry cluster, linking investors with customers, collaborators, supply chains, and innovation partners.

The sector is supported by government and industry collaboration, including through a new long-term Life Sciences Vision. The UK has a competitive business and regulatory environment as well as a world-class biomedical science base. Investors in the UK can access to unique talent, health research infrastructure and a partnership working approach with the national health system.

Opportunity highlights

More than 5,600 life sciences businesses already operate in the UK, including all of the top 25 global pharmaceutical companies and top 30 global medical technology companies. More than 250,000 people are directly employed in the industry and the UK is also a hub for global talent. The UK offers strengths and opportunity for businesses in a wide array of life sciences segments and sub-sectors.


The UK is a prime location to research, develop and manufacture biopharmaceutical products. We have the strongest biomedical pipeline in Europe and are a leading destination for life sciences finance and start-ups.

Opportunities exist for investors in areas including:

  • genomics and precision medicine
  • cell and gene therapies
  • medicines and vaccine manufacturing
  • drug discovery
  • clinical research
  • AI and data science
  • synthetic biology


The UK is home to one of the largest medical technologies (MedTech) industries in the world and leads in its research capabilities. Our world–class universities consistently attract global talent and have a rich history of ground-breaking medical innovations. Government funded infrastructure dedicated to MedTech is ready to work with industry.

Opportunities exist for investors and businesses developing and delivering innovative medical technologies integrated with digital health technologies, and across medical devices, genomics, and advanced diagnostics.

Precision medicine

The UK’s precision medicine ecosystem offers innovators access to excellent research capabilities, leading infrastructure, and a supportive business environment with policies to enable the growth of this dynamic industry.

Precision medicines cuts across the sector, with opportunities for businesses working in diagnostics, genomics, targeted treatments, and aligned technologies and services.

Commercial maturity

The UK has more biotech products in development than any other country in Europe, generating a turnover of £80 billion and exports of £30 billion. The UK has a track record of scientific breakthroughs and a new long-term Life Sciences Vision setting the direction and action over the next decade.

The National Health Service (NHS) is a major purchaser of life sciences products and services but is also an innovation partner that can help develop and deliver these advances. UK regulatory and health leadership along with a global trade approach are helping to bring UK life sciences and health solutions to the world.

Key UK assets

High Potential Opportunities have been created by DIT to highlight and support inward investment into regions across the UK.

Biomanufacturing – Tees Valley

The Tees Valley region presents companies with opportunities to become part of one of the UK’s largest industrial complexes due to its dense, highly-linked and integrated ecosystem. It is home to the National Horizons Centre and the Centre for Process Innovation providing expert support and skills development in biomanufacturing.

Cell and gene therapy – Hertfordshire

Meet growing national and international demand in what has become Europe’s leading cluster for cell and gene therapies, to support your product development at all stages, from research through to manufacturing and commercialisation.

Data driven health innovation – Birmingham

The region harnesses world-leading academic and clinical strengths in data, digital, diagnostics, and devices, taking innovative patient-centred healthcare solutions from early development to real-life application.

Diagnostics and early intervention – Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington

Supported by well-established clusters connecting investors with customers, collaborators, supply chains, and innovation partners, combined with a unique life sciences ecosystem and Government commitment in partnership with industry, Greater Manchester and Cheshire and Warrington are an ideal test bed for your global market development.

Precision medicine – Scotland

Design, develop, validate and implement your precision medicine applications in an integrated healthcare environment for commercialisation to a global market. Access Scotland’s significant range of healthcare data for precision medicine, with 30-year patient demographic information.

Rehabilitation – Leicester and Leicestershire

The region is home to a connected rehabilitation ecosystem with incubators and accelerators to support business growth, a leading academic and clinical research base, an easily accessible diverse patient base and expertise in AI and health data to help develop solutions for real-world applications.

R&D capability

The UK is at the forefront of global scientific exploration, invention and innovation. The future of the already highly productive science base is secured by a commitment to increase R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

Alongside generous government support and tax relief, biopharmaceutical companies operating in the UK can access private sector finance – with more capital pouring into the sector than ever before. Life sciences financing in the UK grew by 1000% from 2012 to present.

UK researchers and institutions have won numerous Nobel Prizes and pioneered major scientific breakthroughs. These have included the discovery of penicillin and the structure of DNA, advances in neuroscience and medical imaging, developments in stem cells and IVF, and applying artificial intelligence and data science to biological problems. This unparalleled science base is supported by partnership with government, industry and third sector.

Business and government support

The Life Sciences Vision, sets an ambitious 10-year plan to make the UK a global leader for life science investment and innovation.

It has 3 areas of policy focus:

Science and research

Make the UK the best place in the world to trial and test products at scale, underpinned by an ever improving genomic and health data infrastructure.

NHS as an innovation partner

Make the NHS the country’s most powerful driver of innovation through the development, testing and adoption of new technologies at a population-scale. Use new technology to get diagnosis and treatment right first time.

Business environment

Create an outstanding business environment for Life Science companies, underpinned by a world class regulatory environment and the City of London.

The Vision also proposes 7 healthcare missions to make rapid progress in cancer, dementia, obesity, mental health, vaccines, respiratory disease, and ageing.

Expand your business in the UK

Get practical guidance and insights to help you successfully set up in the UK.

Case studies


In 2021, Novartis agreed a deal with NHS for use of the new type of cholesterol-lowering drug Inclisiran. This first NHS ‘population health agreement’ will allow 300,000 patients with high cholesterol and a history of cardiovascular disease to benefit from the lifesaving drug over the next 3 years. This figure could rise to nearly half a million people beyond that initial period.

It has been estimated that Inclisiran could prevent 55,000 heart attacks and strokes, with the potential to save 30,000 lives within the next 10 years.


UCB, a global pharmaceutical company, is investing in one of two major global R&D hubs in the UK, with planned investment of £150-200 million in the facility and around £1 billion total investment over 5 years. This investment in the UK will enable the company to build upon numerous active collaborations with UK universities, biotechs and medical research charities.

Biomed Realty

Blackstone’s BioMed Realty, a leading US headquartered life sciences developer, recently announced a £850 million investment to double the size of their UK footprint. The investment will deliver around 800,000 square feet of purpose-built lab and office space in Cambridge, creating up to 2,700 jobs.