UK continues to lead Europe for life science and biotech investment
4 Feb 2024
Venture capital investment in UK life sciences and biotech continues to outperform the rest of Europe, claims the latest report by the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA).
In 2023, the country accounted for 41% of the total for the region and secured a total of £1.8 billion in equity investment.
However the latter figure was down 9% year on year when compared to the statistics for 2022, said the BIA.
Nevertheless, said the association’s MD Steve Bates, the overall performance taken over recent years had been encouraging.
“Although 2023 was a tough year for companies across sectors, including the global biotech industry, the UK sector showed remarkable resilience and investment, and stock market performance continues to outpace pre-pandemic levels,” commented Bates.
”£1.8 billion in investment plus billions more in licensing and M&A deals highlights the strength of our science, the talent of our entrepreneurs, and the growing interest in innovative life sciences technologies.
London-quoted biotechs were still outperforming UK and US markets over the long term, said the association and results spurred during the pandemic had not been lost: the collective share price of London-quoted UK biotechs was approximately 350% compared to pre-pandemic levels, it reported, while licensing and merger and acquisition deals demonstrated the enthusiasm to invest in UK science.
Added Bates: “The UK life sciences sector has had some incredible successes and impacts over the past five years. Record levels of investment, stock market highs and a COVID vaccine that has saved millions of lives around the world.
“With the global inflation easing, there is hope for a gradual recovery in the public markets in 2024, which will lead to an improved venture environment. The UK's strong science, coupled with meaningful policy progress aimed at unlocking new pension fund capital, positions the sector well for continued growth in the year to come.”
Foreign investors participated in 40% of all UK biotech venture deals, with US firms the most prominent. The most active individual foreign investor was French venture capital manager Sofinnova.