• news-banner

    Expert Insights

London’s role in the growing UK Life Sciences sector

In the post-Covid world, Life Sciences as a sector has never been more in demand and it is widely acknowledged that ‘clustering’ Life Sciences expertise is key to driving forward innovation. Bringing together hospitals, universities and industry in a collaborative environment provides the ‘bench to bedside’ research that is essential for progress.

London, which sits at the heart of the Cambridge-London-Oxford ‘golden triangle’, plays a critical role in this. As the home to some of the world’s top universities, academic health science centres and leading medical research institutions, London is well placed to act as a global hub for the Life Sciences sector.

London’s infrastructure makes it particularly well suited to the establishment of clusters, which allow for mobility and collaboration between innovators, clinicians, investors and developers. This can transform the study and practice of healthcare, meaning better trials and, ultimately, greater take up of products. London’s role as a global city also means it can attract and retain the brightest talent.

The Howard de Walden Estate covers 92 acres of Marylebone including the world-renowned Harley Street Medical Area. As home to over 5,000 medical practitioners as well as digital tech and medtech start-ups, it is at the forefront of the conversation about how Life Sciences hubs can be fostered and supported within the capital. I spoke to Mark Kildea, Howard de Walden’s Chief Executive, to find out more.

CI: What do you see as the unique opportunities for London in the Life Sciences sector?

MK: Ideas come from universities but, to roll them out, you need proximity to hospitals. London has both; world-class universities including UCL, King’s College London and Imperial College as well as multiple specialist hospitals which offer greater access to a diverse pool of patients. From a transport and infrastructure perspective London comes out top; London connects all of the UK’s Life Sciences hubs – from Cambridge and Oxford to Stevenage, Milton Keynes and Manchester. It also has the ability to draw the best talent who want to be living and working in a major city with all of the benefits that has to offer, like vibrant retail and a curated space.

CI: What about the challenges?

MK: There is a chronic shortage of space in Central London and a perception (which I would personally dispute) that rents are too high to make Life Sciences spaces financially sustainable. There are real challenges in making sure that a property is fit for purpose and the need for specialist architects and developers to build out suitable spaces. Added to that, there can be difficulties in accessing full hospital care which is essential for NIHR accreditation. The combination of these factors has meant slow growth of commercial Life Sciences hubs across London.

However, this is an exciting time. Advancements in construction and fit-out mean there are now greater opportunities than ever before to create wet lab spaces across the city. With collaboration between landowners, design teams, healthcare providers and organisations, I’m confident that London can cement its role as a global hub for Life Sciences.

CI: How do you see the relationship between the Life Sciences and Healthcare sectors evolving?

MK: The Covid-19 pandemic has emphasised the importance of physical connections between the Life Sciences and Healthcare sectors, in particular with translational or ‘bench to bedside’ research and the delivery of patient care. I think there is a real need for collaboration between both sectors to drive forward innovation. After the past two years, the NHS is under more pressure than ever and trials can get crowded out due to other priorities. Space and staff are at a premium which has a really damaging impact on research and there is a role for the private sector in bridging this gap.

CI: Why is Howard de Walden particularly interested in the Life Sciences sector?

MK: There are a number of reasons why we are looking at Life Sciences across the estate. The proximity t of Marylebone to King’s Cross, organisations like the Francis Crick Institute and the major London universities means we all well connected. We’ve got extensive experience in retrofitting heritage buildings so they are suitable for specialised medical use and the range of properties we own, means we can support organisations from the incubator stage through to scale up.

However, our main ambition is to facilitate collaboration. The Healthcare sector is at the core of our estate – we’re home to a wide range of hospitals and clinics. Healthcare and Life Sciences are inseparable, and we want to enable Life Sciences organisations to tap into the Healthcare opportunities within our estate, connecting research, private capital and hospitals.

 

 

Our thinking

  • Women in Leadership: Planning for the future

    Sarah Wigington

    Events

  • In-House Insights: Legal operations at work - how to do more with less

    Megan Paul

    Events

  • The Financial Times quotes Sophie Dworetzsky on potential drawbacks of changing or scrapping UK non-dom rules

    Sophie Dworetzsky

    In the Press

  • Take-aways for UK firms from ESMA’s consultation on reverse solicitation

    Cheryl Tham

    Insights

  • Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill: Where are we now?

    Laura Bushaway

    Insights

  • City AM quotes Dominic Lawrance on the potential scrapping of non-dom rules in the Spring Budget

    Dominic Lawrance

    In the Press

  • The Grocer quotes Kelvin Tanner on the impact of upcoming visa changes on the hospitality industry

    Kelvin Tanner

    In the Press

  • The Daily Telegraph quotes Nick Hurley on the legalities of asking for childcare employment in lieu of rent

    Nick Hurley

    In the Press

  • FCA Authorisation: Do I need to be FCA-regulated?

    Richard Ellis

    Insights

  • Post-sale planning: The Maximisation and Protection of Private Wealth following a Business Sale or Exit Event

    Tabitha Collett

    Insights

  • City AM quotes William Garner on FCA plans to 'name and shame' firms under investigation

    William Garner

    In the Press

  • Supreme Court confirms injunctions can be granted against newcomers

    Harriet Durn

    Insights

  • Charles Russell Speechlys ‘Client Conversations’ welcomes one of the best strikers of all time and greatest players in Premier League history, Alan Shearer CBE

    Simon Ridpath

    News

  • Edward Robinson and Charlie Searle write for FT Adviser on key considerations when an individual inherits company shares

    Edward Robinson

    In the Press

  • Hugh Gunson and Karin Mouhon write for Tax Journal on a recent Upper Tribunal decision - HMRC v The Taxpayer

    Hugh Gunson

    In the Press

  • Pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace

    Michael Powner

    Insights

  • Client Conversations Podcast: Alan Shearer CBE

    Simon Ridpath

    Podcasts

  • Sifted quotes Victoria Younghusband on a boardroom disagreement involving Klarna and Sequoia Capital

    Victoria Younghusband

    In the Press

  • The Telegraph quotes Rose Carey on new visa salary rules

    Rose Carey

    In the Press

  • Trade Credit Insurance – Protection, Economic Instability and Increased Demand

    Mary Barrett

    Insights

Back to top