Scotland's life sciences sector 'could double' turnover

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Media captionMany of the companies working in Scotland's life sciences sector are based in Edinburgh's "bioquarter"

The life sciences sector in Scotland could be worth £8bn year by the 2025, according to an industry group.

Scottish businesses involved in developing medicine and treatments for humans, animals and plants currently turn over more than £4bn a year.

The Scottish government wants to build on this success by fostering more collaboration and innovation among the 700 life science companies in Scotland.

The industry currently employs more than 37,000 people across the country.

The Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group is now launching a new strategy to grow the business.

Dave Tudor, the industry chairman of Life Sciences Scotland, said: "This is an exciting time for life sciences businesses in Scotland. I am delighted with the shape of our refreshed strategy and the strategic themes that have been identified.

"We now need focus and alignment from across the sector as we create the working groups that will plan and coordinate the delivery of this strategy. I look forward to working with everyone to ensure success in the future."

About £300m has been invested in the sector over the past three years, according to LSSILG, with a number of other international companies also looking to expand in Scotland.

'Tight community'

A big part of the life sciences industry in Scotland is based in Edinburgh's "bioquarter".

Ian Wilson, the chief executive officer of Edinburgh Molecular Imaging, told BBC Scotland that being part of a wider community was vital to the company's success.

"What we do is very difficult and it's a journey that we can't do on our own. So being part of a bioquarter we are connected to a world-leading hospital - Edinburgh Royal Infirmary - and we can connect with clinicians and key scientists there who will help us on our journey to get these agents to market.

"Being in that tight community in Scotland actually helps us be more effective and hopefully we can get these important diagnostics to patients as quickly as possible."

The industry group is is co-chaired by the Business and Innovation Minister Paul Wheelhouse, supported by Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell.

Image caption The group said it had ambitions to double the turnover of the industry by 2025

Mr Wheelhouse, said: "These statistics published today show the value of the life sciences industry to Scotland, providing employment for over 37,000 people, with company turnover in excess of £4.2bn - up 29% between 2010 and 2014.

"I welcome the publication of this ambitious industry-led strategy for the life sciences, which support the aim to increase annual turnover by a further 90% to £8bn by 2025.

Mr Wheelhouse added that the sector was a "key driver" for innovation and had a strong impact on employment in and around Scotland's cities.

Julia Brown, from Scottish Enterprise, said: "I am delighted to see the impressive expansion of the sector over the past few years, which is the result of concerted collaborative efforts from the Scottish life sciences community.

"Scottish Enterprise will continue to work with the Life Science Scotland ILG, industry and all life sciences sector stakeholders to keep the momentum and achieve the ambitious growth targets outlined in this strategy."

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