With Brexit negotiations continuing at pace (or at least progressing), now is an appropriate time to consider what Government strategy should be for the life sciences sector in a post Brexit world. Helpfully, the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy provides insight into the sector’s preferred approach.
One of the key threads of the Industrial Strategy is growth and, importantly, how Government can stimulate growth through creating the right social and fiscal environments. As the Industrial Strategy is at pains to point out, the UK has found the task of scaling life sciences companies to be challenging, with many exits taking place before companies have fully reached their potential.
The Industrial Strategy proposes, amongst other things, the following to stimulate growth:
- creating an internationally competitive tax environment;
- aligning the tax environment with longer term growth;
- addressing market failures through the introduction of Social Impact Bonds;
- improving efficiency of the UK public markets for life science companies;
- establishing a coalition of funders to undertake ‘moonshot programmes’ with such high risk / high rewards potentially creating new industries in healthcare; and
- fostering collaboration through life sciences clusters and incubators (as has proven to be successful in the technology sector).
One item is clear though, standing still is not an option. The UK competes globally in the life sciences sector and other nations have recognised the opportunities and invested accordingly. However, with world class scientists and infrastructure at its disposal, the UK is well placed to capitalise on the opportunities which exist to turn the UK into a global life sciences hub.