London’s life sciences to undergo rapid expansion

By Kasmira Jefford - Thursday, October 05, 2017 10:38

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London’s life sciences sector has enjoyed a surge in activity and is set to gain further momentum, a new report claims, fuelled by increasing spend on global healthcare and advances being made with technology in medical treatments.

London, together with Oxford and Cambridge, form the well-established life sciences cluster known as the ‘Golden Triangle’, acknowledged in the government’s recently published Life Sciences Industrials Strategy.

However, a combination of emerging global trends – including a strong rise in global healthcare expenditure, and advances in medical treatments enabled by technology – provide a scale that CBRE expects will drive the sector’s rapid expansion.

The property firm's inaugural report, Life Sciences London, argues that increasing collaboration between the life sciences and tech sectors provides London with a distinct advantage over other global clusters – no more so than in the Knowledge Quarter, a partnership of 73-knowledge based institutions around King’s Cross, Euston and Bloomsbury.

Known as the world’s greatest knowledge cluster, the area is home to the Crick Institute, Google’s new HQ and the Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national institute for data science.

London is also expected to benefit from the increasing trend of large pharmaceutical firms relocating their R&D facilities to urban clusters – already apparent in New York, where pharmas are attracted by the potential to collaborate with universities and research institutes.

CBRE predicts this shift will result in further demand in London for space next to research institutions. This includes incubator space providing flexible space for start-ups, small units of flexible space for established businesses, innovation space and larger units catering for a range of users with excellent amenities.

The opportunity for the real estate community is to determine how it can deliver an affordable collaborative platform that works from an occupier and investor perspective. Lessons from other successful global clusters show that the public sector has a role to play in supporting developers’ response to occupiers’ requirements.

Andy Monighan, Senior Director, Tenant Advisory, CBRE said: “London has all the ingredients of a dynamic ecosystem to support a strong life sciences industry: world-leading universities and research institutions, highly-skilled workforce, a supportive business environment and a vibrant entrepreneurial culture backed by easy availability of finance."

"The recent opening of the Francis Crick Institute, home to 1,250 scientists, highlights the cluster’s existing strengths and will provide further momentum. We expect London’s life sciences cluster to expand relatively quickly, and this will drive strong demand for office, innovation and lab space as close as possible to these knowledge centres.”

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