Imperial, Kings & UCL join forces with Oxford and Cambridge. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, just launched a major new initiative backed by some of the country’s senior academics and business people that will transform the London-Oxford-Cambridge life sciences sector into a world beating power-cluster. Through MedCity, a new body modelled on the immensely successful Tech City Investment Organisation, the life sciences sector in the South East will come to match the crucial position of financial services in the national economy.
The new organisation is tasked with attracting life sciences corporations large and small to the ‘golden triangle’ formed by the three UK cities, facilitating collaboration between them and the UK academic research base, and reinforcing specialist infrastructure so that the region becomes one of the premier, interconnected clusters for life science research, development, manufacturing and commercialisation.
MedCity has been established by the Mayor of London and King’s Health Partners, Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre and UCLPartners with co-operation from the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford. The organisation is supported by an advisory board that includes leading life sciences figures in the UK such as Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society and CEO of The Francis Crick Institute, and Professor Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University, alongside successful entrepreneurs including Dr Herman Hauser and Dr Simon Kerry as well as leading political, medical, charitable and business institutions.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Together with Oxford and Cambridge we form a ‘golden triangle’ of scientific innovation and we need to channel that intellectual pre-eminence into a positive impact on our economy. MedCity will span everything from research to clinical trials to manufacturing, across biotech, med tech and health tech. I am in no doubt that having the whole ‘chain’ from small spin-offs to massive companies doing their research, clinical development and manufacturing here in London and the south east can be as important to our economy as the financial services sector is today.”
Seventy-one Nobel Prize Laureates have links with London universities, 48 of them scientists. Oxford University is home to 51 Nobel Prize Laureates, 32 of who are scientists while 90 affiliates of Cambridge University have been awarded the prize, 76 of which are scientists. The region is also home to six of the world’s best universities. Over the last 10 years employment in life sciences has increased by 21 per cent – compared to only 12 per cent on average for all employment types.
There is also the unique advantages of the National Health Service serving a diverse capital city – a living laboratory in which every human genome type is represented – The perfect location for clinical trials and human research. MedCity will also enable collaboration among academic institutions, the NHS, charities and the private sector and, in particular, collaboration with the City to attract more investment and risk capital to the sector. In addition, it will provide a strong voice for the life sciences field, championing its strengths but also raising awareness of the factors impeding further growth with national and European governments and regulators.
MedCity will represent the region at international conferences and operate a “concierge” service navigating the industry for those who want to invest, collaborate and provide up-to-date market insights. It will also establish a physical ‘hub’ to act as a point of focus for MedCity activities.