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Scotland’s Life Sciences Dinner & Annual Awards 2017

7 Feb 2017

Last week (2nd February 2017) the Eden Scott Life Sciences team joined the rest of the industry in celebrating a fantastic year for Scottish Life Sciences at the Scottish Enterprise Awards 2017.

We were lucky enough to chat to Julia Brown, Senior Director, Healthcare, Life & Chemical Sciences at Scottish Enterprise who gave us a fantastic round up of the nights events & insights into the winners. 

Scottish Life Sciences Awards - what's it all about?

The Scottish Life Sciences Awards ceremony and dinner is THE event for the life sciences community working in Scotland. It has been running now for 17 year and is a testament to the strength, significance and success of this innovative and growing sector. It is an evening of celebration and networking, and in addition a great opportunity to showcase Scotland to our global audience.

Over 700 guests from right across the entire spectrum of life sciences gathered at the the National Museum of Scotland to recognise the success and achievements of Scotland’s internationally-renowned companies, researchers and business leaders in areas including innovation, investment, community engagement and collaboration.

Who delivered the keynote speech?

This year we had the pleasure of welcoming Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK as keynote speaker. Sir Andrew gave an inspirational and thought provoking address, setting the tone for the evening activities. He talked about,

The importance of serendipity in discovery and the conditions to foster innovation.

He highlighted the extraordinary times we are living in with the convergence of technologies leading to a historically unparalleled explosion in innovation. But above all he emphasized that the greatest value of an innovation is the good it brings to humankind.

Scottish Life Sciences - What are the next steps?

The formal proceedings continued after dinner. Dave Tudor, VP of Primary Supply Chain at GSK and the newly appointed industry chair of the Life Sciences Industry Leadership group, formally launched the updated strategy for life sciences in Scotland. It sets out to,

double company turnover for the sector to £8bn by 2025. 

The launch of this ambitious strategy was timely as it built on the sector figures just announced by the Scottish government. Scotland's life sciences industry contributes more than £4.2 billion a year to the Scottish economy with some 700 organisations employing in excess of 37,000 people (2014).

However, what is most impressive is the growth achieved from 2010 to 2014 which is a testament to the dynamism of the sector,

Company turnover, GVA and employment grew by 29%, 24% and 13% respectively during this period.

So who won which award, and what for?

The life sciences awards has been running for so long simply because we have a wealth of talent here, and this year was no exception. The quality of the finalists and winners was, as always, outstanding. 


Innovation award: Inside Biometrics

Since the company started out in 2013, the team has been using its collective expertise in self-tracking medical devices to develop a ground-breaking new product for people with diabetes. Now, the Keya Smart System, designed and manufactured in the Scottish Highlands, has a range of features that will revolutionise how people with diabetes monitor their blood glucose and potential ketone levels, as well as manage their condition in the longer term. 


Business Leadership: Ian Stevens, Touch Bionics Ltd

Touch Bionics has established itself as the world’s leading provider of bionic upper limb prostheses. Based on performance in the first ten months of 2016, sales growth will be over 25% this year.

This follows on five years of double digit growth. The company now employs over 120 staff and over 99% of its revenue is from export. In April 2016, the world’s second largest orthotic and prosthetic manufacturer, Ossur, purchased Touch Bionics, in order to expand its product portfolio. 


Investment of the Year (2016): Touch Bionics

Touch Bionics was founded in 2003 by mechanical engineer David Gow CBW, spun out of NHS Scotland by Scottish Healthcare Innovations. Initial funders were a syndicate of individual business angels known as Archangel, together with government grant funding.

Following this initial investment, Scottish Enterprise, together with Archangel, took part in a series of equity funding rounds between 2003 and 2015. In April 2016, the world's second largest orthotic and prosthetic manufacturer, the Icelandic company Ossur, purchased Touch Bionics for £27.5 million. This acqusition provided a full exit for investors.

Ossur's investment will also allow expansion of the manufacturing facility in Livingstone, increasing employment both in the company and supply chain and reducing the time needed to bring products to market.


Innovative Collaboration: Emblation and Covidien

Emblation secured a contract for the design and development of the microwave generator for the next generation of Covidien’s market leading microwave ablation product.

By taking a highly innovative approach and investing in new technologies and techniques, Emblation achieved what other organisations with significantly more resources had been attempting to do for decades – create a compact, cost-effective system that could be manufactured on a large scale. In fact, Emblation created the world’s smallest, lightest and most-cost effective system in its class.


Community Engagement: BioReliance/Merck

BioReliance, acquired by Merck in November 2015, provides contract biological safety testing, supporting a global client base by providing mission critical data that supports the development and release of cutting-edge medicines.

The employees of BioReliance have always been keen advocates of community engagement. The overall level of community engagement has really stepped up a notch in 2016 with the inception of Merck’s SPARK programme. Since then BioReliance employees have delivered informative and engaging science lessons to at least 1,250 schoolchildren in the Glasgow and Stirling area through a combination of direct school visits and a partnership with the Glasgow Science Centre.


Entrepreneurial Business Leadership: Mike Leek TC BioPharm

Since incorporation in March 2013 Mike Leek, CEO, has taken TC BioPharm, an immunotherapy company with a cell-based product pipeline capable of treating a variety of disorders including cancer and severe viral infections, from a concept to a high profile early stage life sciences company.

The company embarked on successful clinical trials with real global market potential in 2015 and are now progressing phase IIb clinical trials with phase III planned for late 2017.

Mike has driven the funding strategy for the business and has secured equity from two Japanese investors initially Medinet and most recently Nipro where both high profile companies bought into the vision of this entrepreneurial CEO.

Other investors in TCB have included employees investing to show their loyalty, commitment and belief in Mike’s vision as well as angel syndicates UK wide where SIB have co-invested with local angels.


Export & International Trade: BASF Pharma (Callanish) Ltd

BASF Pharma (Callanish) Limited is a global leader in manufacturing highly-concentrated omega-3 fatty acids, for pharmaceutical, clinical nutrition and general nutritional applications. The company has had a specific focus on increasing its presence the key markets of Japan and USA and have made great strides toward this goal.


Special Recognition Award: Sir John Brown CBE FRSE

The award ceremony concluded with a Special Recognition Award being presented to Dr John Brown. John is Chairman of Kyowa Kirin International plc and Synpromics Ltd, and a Non-executive Director of Electrical Geodesics Inc Quantum pharma plc and BioCity Nottingham. Previously, he was Chairman of BTG plc , Axis-Shield plc, Touch Bionics and CXR Biosciences.

In the public sector, he is Chairman of the Cell Therapy Catapult, The Roslin Foundation and the Easter Bush Development Board and a member of MRC Council.

John has also recently retired as a Chair of the Life Sciences Industry Advisory Board where I had the pleasure of working with him and was a member of the Scottish Science Advisory Council.

John led LISAB for over 12 years and his leadership during which the sector experienced significant expansion



All in all it's been another successful year for Scottish Life Sciences and a wonderful evening at Scotland’s Life Sciences Dinner & Annual Awards 2017. We are very much looking forward to implementing our strategy and supporting the exciting work of our Life Sciences Industry.  


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