Since YCF annual sponsor Burges Salmon opened its Scottish office in Edinburgh in May 2019, it has advised a number of early stage businesses in the life sciences and healthcare sector, which has involved negotiating with large pharma companies, universities and key investors.
Very few companies or industries have escaped the effects, or were immune to the consequences of COVID-19, but the life sciences sector, along with other sectors providing “essential” services, has not only remained buoyant throughout the 18 month global pandemic, but is looking set to be the most expanding and lucrative sector on a global scale.
COVID-19 has shone a light on the growing importance of life science and health research companies, and placed an emphasis on pharmaceutical companies to produce vital medicines, therapies, and testing to combat the pandemic. The needs of the NHS, and other health services, is also expected to expedite the merging of technology and life sciences, most likely in relation to digital diagnostics and preventative medicine.
Against this backdrop, drugmakers, diagnostics, medical equipment and other life sciences companies received c. £10.6bn of investment from private funding rounds and stock market flotations in the first three months of 2021.
With the need for services associated with the life sciences industry growing, investors are realising that the crucial role the sector has been playing during the pandemic is set to continue.
otwithstanding the timeframe for taking a drug from discovery through to market approval taking typically 10 to 15 years, and costing more than £1.8bn, (requiring investors to be in it for the long term, without expectations of a quick profit), there is a great deal of optimism for young companies in this sector. Investors are increasingly targeting the life sciences industry, including a wide range of medical fields as well as biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and biomedical technologies.
The additional flexibilities that have been put in place by the sectors’ regulators (the MHRA and DHSC) should also be borne carefully in mind. The stated aim of the MHRA in relation to ongoing trials is to be flexible and pragmatic with regard to regulatory requirements, to reflect clinical trial resources either being absent or redeployed to front-line care.
Since Burges Salmon opened its Scottish office in Edinburgh in May 2019, we have advised a number of early stage businesses in the life sciences and healthcare sector which has involved negotiating with large pharma companies, universities and key investors. We recognise the importance of being pragmatic, commercial and managing risk where young companies often have allocated budgets and little scope to incur hefty legal fees.
If you would like to discuss how Burges Salmon can help companies or investors in the life sciences sector, please contact Danny Lee or your usual Burges Salmon contact.
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