The seventh annual Strength and Opportunity report, produced by the Office for Life Sciences and UK Trade and Investment, was launched in May. The report identifies the strengths in the UK health life sciences industry and the opportunities for future growth. In the blog below, we highlight some of the key statistics from the report.

Strength and Opportunity 2015 sets out a detailed picture of the life science industry in the UK, consisting of the medical biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical technology sectors. Overall, the UK life science industry:

  • Employs an estimated 222,000 people
  • Across 5,633 companies
  • Collectively generating around £60.7bn in annual turnover
  • Two thirds of employment in the industry is found outside London and the South East of England

Life Science SandO

Looking specifically at the biopharmaceutical sector, which comprises medical biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, this accounts for 48% of employees and 35% of companies in the UK life science sector, generating approximately two thirds of the annual turnover:

  • 107,000 employees
  • 1,948 companies
  • Generating £39.7bn annual turnover
  • SMEs make up 78% of companies in the sector and supply chain
  • Primarily located in the South East (25%), London (13%), East (19%) and North West (13%)

Biopharma SandO

Further analysis of the biopharmaceutical sector looks at core biopharma companies versus biopharma service and supply companies. Core biopharma companies (i.e. those companies whose business involves developing and/or producing their own pharmaceutical products – from small, R&D focussed biotechs to multinational Big Pharma) account for 664 of the 1,948 companies, employing 62,300 people, with a turnover of £28.9bn in 2015. Analysing the size of companies shows there is a diverse size range with a lot of micro companies: 42% have less than five employees and just over 10% have over 250 people.


For the first time, the report also includes figures on the emerging digital health and genomics sectors – both key areas of future growth for the UK.

Published alongside Strength and Opportunity 2015, the Life Science Competitiveness report shows a higher level picture of the UK life sciences ecosystem and performance relative to a set of comparator countries. This overview highlights the strong academic base and clinical research environment in the UK, as well as high levels of health and life sciences industry productivity.

Read the Strength and Opportunity report in full here and infographics of the key statistics are also available here

Read the Life Science Competitiveness Indicators report here

Interested in financing and deals within the biotech sector in 2015? Check out BIA’s Money, Momentum and Maturity report here