Set up new premises for healthcare and pharma

There are a large number of healthcare clusters throughout the UK. Incubators, accelerators and science parks can offer you strong support.


Clusters

The UK’s thriving life sciences ecosystem is supported by strong collaboration across industry, academic institutions, government, the National Health Service (NHS) and other health funders.

The huge life sciences cluster of London, Oxford, Cambridge and surrounding areas is known as the Golden Triangle. This area represents one of the world's leading concentrations of biotechnology and life sciences expertise.

The North of England region is home to over 1,000 healthcare and life sciences businesses. It has large clusters of orthopaedic, medical device and surgical companies and world-class research facilities.

Major clusters by life sciences subsector include:

  • biomanufacturing in the Tees Valley
  • cell and gene therapy in Hertfordshire
  • data- driven health innovation in Birmingham
  • diagnostics and early intervention in Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington
  • precision medicine in Scotland
  • rehabilitation in Leicester and Leicestershire
  • tissue repair and regeneration in Leeds
  • medtech health in Wales
  • precision medicine biomarkers and diagnostics in Northern Ireland
  • healthy ageing in North East England
  • vaccines in Liverpool

Much of the innovative activity is based round business parks and science centres. You can find a list of science-oriented UK business parks and centres on the website of Life Sciences UK.

Incubators and accelerators 

Incubators

These are business growth programmes that provide physical space for startups, with shared facilities and business support services. They’re often based in science parks, with links to local universities for research and development.

There are around 400 incubator programmes currently operating in the UK.  Most incubators will charge your company fees or rent, but this is often subsidised by a university or public funding.

Accelerators

These will typically offer your company services through an intensive programme lasting 3 to 12 months. There are currently around 300 programmes operating in the UK.

Accelerators tend to be more growth-driven than incubators, as they often offer direct funding in return for equity (typically less than 10%). They’re more appropriate if you’re a startup looking to scale rapidly.

Find out more on the websites of healthcare and life sciences accelerators, including:

You can find a life sciences map of existing and planned sites on the website of real estate company, Jones Lang LaSalle.

View a directory of accelerators and incubators in the UK on the website of the Centre for Entrepreneurs (requires free registration)

Freeports

Freeports are special areas within the UK’s borders where different economic regulations apply and where you can access planning, infrastructure and innovation support from the UK government.

Freeports can provide an invaluable opportunity for expanding healthcare and life sciences businesses, enabling access to a wide range of customs and tax benefits.

Freeports with a specific emphasis on biopharma are:

Find out more about UK Freeports on GOV.UK.

Find office space

The UK has a competitive market of specialised serviced office companies, professional services companies and virtual office providers, all ensuring costs are kept low for clients.

Virtual offices allow companies to meet any legal obligation to have a registered address in the UK, without paying for a physical office.

You can compare prices for office or other space on commercial property search engines, such as Estates Gazette,  and the websites of office advisory services like Instant Offices or Flexi Offices.

Regulations and best practice guidance

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) publishes guidance for healthcare and pharma companies. This includes the use of health technologies within the NHS and the use of the new and existing medicines, treatments and procedures. Find out more on the NICE website.

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) analyses information supplied by medicine manufacturers on the health benefits of the medicine and justification of its price. Find out more on the SMC website.

Next steps

Get advice on setting up your healthcare and pharma business from UK experts – find their contact details on the UK Investment Support Directory.

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