The UK biotech industry is booming, with the number of research and development (R&D) companies increasing by 65% in just over three years, according to a new report by investment manager Downing LLP.
The sector is attracting record levels of funding despite Brexit uncertainties, with annual investment reaching £2.2 billion in 2018, up 85% from 2017. The UK government has selected life sciences as one of its industries to support as part of its industrial strategy, and the latest figures from the report suggest it has backed a winner.
The number of public listed companies with biotechnological R&D as a registered activity has risen by 40% since the first quarter of 2016, and as many as three new companies were incorporated every working day during the first two months of 2019.
The report found that London, Oxford and Cambridge have cemented their position as the UK’s ‘Golden Triangle’ of biotech, now accounting for over a third of UK biotech companies. This compares to 27% at the start of 2016.
Outside of the Golden Triangle, Nottingham and Manchester continue to make up the top five UK locations for biotech R&D activities, each accounting for 2% of active businesses in the first quarter of 2019.