life sciences and healthcare

Against a backdrop of global uncertainty, the Cambridge ecosystem is very well-equipped to deal with the unexpected and challenging – an ability nowhere more evident than in the Life Science and Healthcare sector.

Against a backdrop of global uncertainty, the Cambridge ecosystem is very well-equipped to deal with the unexpected and challenging – an ability nowhere more evident than in the Life Science and Healthcare sector.


Nobel Prize winners in life sciences since 2000


turnover from life sciences and healthcare businesses


life sciences and healthcare turnover growth per annun over the last 3 years

A world leader

Generating over £4bn in turnover, our life science and healthcare businesses have demonstrated an astonishing growth in turnover of 19% per annum over the last 3 years, with record levels of venture investment, corporate deals, property investment and product development.

Home to 17 Nobel Prize winners in life sciences since 2000, the region has been at the forefront of game-changing fields such as Precision Medicine, AI/Machine Learning in Healthcare and Medical Robotics as they have emerged from academic theory to practical application. The formation of biotechnology company Cambridge Antibody Technology in 1989 was the start of a journey culminating in development of Humira, or Adalimumab, now the top-selling pharmaceutical worldwide, while development of sequencing by synthesis technology has revolutionalised DNA sequencing, allowing scientists to map the human genome for the first time. The sector represents a long-term success story that continues to deliver ground-breaking scientific advances, enhanced patient outcomes and investor returns.

Serving a population of over 1 million across the ecosystem, three highly-respected NHS Foundation Trusts work with industry to translate innovation into patient benefit, and the region also hosts the largest National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre in the UK. This wealth of assets attracts and retains a highly skilled workforce, in turn supporting the co-location of high growth companies including the global R&D headquarters of AstraZeneca from 2020. Innovating to change the world is in the DNA of the scientists, business leaders and investors in this region, attracting great minds, capital and support from further afield to enable and share in our success.

Cambridge has the highest proportion per capita of start-ups in the UK, while University of Cambridge spin-outs raised over $2bn in capital between 2013 and 2017, topping the global lists. While the region is highly inventive and entrepreneurial, major business investments and corporate deals have seen well in excess of £1bn of private capital pour into the cluster. Whether through collaborations such as Microbiotica with Genentech, Mission Therapeutics with Abbvie and Crescendo Biologics with Takeda, significant fund raised including CMR Surgical, Artios, Acacia Therapeutics or Nasdaq IPO’s such as Bicycle Therapeutics. Numerous signs point to a significant maturing asset and company pipeline in the cluster, and a comprehensive portfolio of opportunity in which to engage.

Where brilliant minds meet investment

This combination of capacity for innovation and comprehensive portfolio of opportunity and proven excellence, allows Cambridge to compete with global leaders such as Boston and San Diego. The ecosystem continues to benefit from a supportive Government policy and investment strategy, with recent public commitments to develop the “Pan Regional Partnership (PRP - formerly known as OxCam Arc)” as one of the most exciting economic growth opportunities globally, according to Robert Jenrick (Minister of State at the Treasury – November 2018). In turn, this long-term public support has made the cluster attractive to private capital, funding a maturing pipeline of advanced therapeutics, precision medicines and health technologies.

Such committed funding of basic research and commercialisation ensures that Cambridge attracts the best minds and entrepreneurs to continue this success.

Discovering new medicines, therapeutics and devices has always been challenging, yet researchers, entrepreneurs and their investors across the cluster are united in their persistence, creativity and ability to deal with regulatory change. Cambridge is an ideal location to test hypotheses and grow businesses amongst a supportive network of peers and world-class facilities.

Download the University of Cambridge life sciences and healthcare brochure

Download brochure