Business base

The life sciences sector is one of the fastest growing sectors for development and investment throughout the UK. The rapid pace of growth has seen more than 100 new life sciences companies established in Scotland since 2010. Alongside specific life sciences companies, the complementary professional services industries that support these life sciences developments are cropping up in the city and surroundings, such as law firms, patent agents, business consultants and other services.

A number of global companies that are leaders in the life sciences arena have set up shop in Glasgow and the West of Scotland. The West of Scotland has 150 life sciences companies, which comprises 26% of Scotland’s total number of life science enterprises and 50% of Scotland’s medtech companies.

The companies located in Glasgow employ over 1,000 people and annually generate £99.1 million in turnover and £38.7 million in GVA (Scottish Growth Sector Statistics 2016).

Global presences

A number of global companies are already located within the Glasgow BioCorridor with many more looking to establish a similar base.

Examples include:

  • GlaxoSmithKline in Irvine, manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients for drugs that treat asthma, AIDS and influenza.
  • Life Technologies Corporation, which has had a presence in the west of Scotland for 35+ years. Its European headquarters is based near Glasgow Airport – 550 people currently work there. The work Life Technologies undertakes includes research into molecular medicine, stem-cell-based therapies, food safety, animal health and other fields.
  • BioOutsource, a contract research organisation based in the West of Scotland Science Park, provides contract testing services to the biopharmaceutical industry, such as testing of biologics and vaccines throughout the development process.
  • SB Drug Discovery, a preclinical drug discovery services company, is also located at the West of Scotland Science Park. Its expertise lies in various fields, such as signal transduction to the CNS, pain, inflammation, metabolic and cancer therapeutic areas.
  • Vascutek, a medical devices company that forms part of the growing array of medtech companies in Glasgow’s varied life sciences sector, employs 500 who work on vascular grafts, tissue heart values and other vascular and cardiovascular products.

Key subsectors

Glasgow has an undisputed position as a global leader in groundbreaking life sciences research. Glasgow’s particular strengths lie in the specific focus areas of:

  • Stratified (personalised) medicine
  • Medical technology
  • Pharmaceuticals

Much more information about these subsectors can be found in Research & facilities.


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