February 28, 2024

Tech Gadgets Medical

Tech Gadgets Medical, Satisfies The Need

Bioscience and health technology sector statistics 2021

1. Main points

  • The number of life sciences businesses operating in the UK has remained broadly similar since 2018, with a total of 6,548 in 2021. These businesses had a total of 7,599 sites in the UK, a 3% increase compared to 2020.

  • There were 282,000 people employed in the UK life sciences sector in 2021, a relative increase of 4% compared to 2020. Employment in life sciences in the UK has seen a continuous upward trend between 2012 and 2020.

  • Businesses in the UK life sciences industry generated £94.2 billion in turnover in 2021, a 9% increase from the £86.4 billion (in 2021 prices) raised in turnover in 2020. Turnover has seen an upward trend overall since 2013 but has increased at a sharper rate between 2019 and 2021.

  • There are 4 sectors operating within the life sciences industry (biopharmaceutical core, biopharmaceutical service and supply, medical technology core and medical technology service and supply). The sector with the highest proportion of sites and employment was the medical technology core sector, accounting for 44% of sites and 40% of employment in 2021. This sector has continuously accounted for the highest number of sites and employment between 2009 and 2021.

  • The sector that generated the highest turnover in 2021 was the biopharmaceutical core sector, accounting for 43% of the total turnover generated across the life sciences industry. This was followed by the biopharmaceutical service and supply sector and medical technology core sector which each accounted for a share of 25% of turnover in 2021.

  • The South East continues to be the UK region with the highest share of both life sciences industry employment and turnover, accounting for 24% of total employment and 30% of total turnover in 2021.

2. Introduction

This report contains analysis of trends in the UK life sciences industry, covering the biopharmaceutical and medical technology principal sectors. The data does not include industrial biotechnology, animal health, not-for-profit organisations, public funded institutions or universities. The three main measures of economic contribution and industry structure contained in this report are:

  • employment – the number of people employed by life sciences businesses
  • turnover – the amount of money taken by businesses within scope of life sciences sector activities
  • number of businesses and their sites – the number of life sciences businesses and their sites registered in the UK

The analysis in this report covers the economic activity of businesses that focus on the discovery, development and marketing of new therapies and medical devices, referred to as ‘core’ businesses, as well as businesses operating in the specialist service and supply chains that are key parts of the ecosystem. A segmentation approach is applied that enables a detailed analysis of the product and service categories that make up the industry.

The BaHTSS series publishes data 1 year in arrears and this iteration of the report (covering data up to and including the end of the financial year in 2021) was initially published on 1 December 2022. The data in this report is aggregated in terms of financial years, but is labelled as the calendar year corresponding with the end of the financial year (for example, the financial year 2020/21 is labelled as 2021). More information on the data and methods used in this report can be found in the accompanying background quality and user guide.

This report is also accompanied by:

3. Publication updates

3.1 New additions

This report publishes data on employment and turnover from life sciences businesses operating in the UK at local authority district level for the first time.

3.2 Methodology changes

Several changes have been made to the methodology behind the statistics this year, including:

  • Further research was conducted this year to identify businesses which have substantial levels of activity in the field of genomics. This has resulted in more businesses being tagged with the genomics classification codes. All figures in this report include a backdated timeseries to cover these businesses.
  • Additional work has been undertaken in the 2021 publication to improve the accuracy and coverage of business size classification and business ownership classification. This has resulted in more accurate identification of businesses that are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and businesses that are UK-owned or overseas-owned. This work has been applied to the 2021 only, and as a result data for previous years is not available within this report.
  • This publication only includes life sciences sites operating in the UK and excludes any operating in the UK’s crown dependencies. Previous publications in the BaHTSS series includes sites in the crown dependencies. The time series in this report has been backdated retrospectively.

It is recommended to always use the most recently available report in the BaHTSS series. More details on these changes can be found in the accompanying background quality and user guide.

3.3 Revision notices

An error was spotted relating to the turnover timeseries for past reports for the years 2009 to 2018. The timeseries is revised each year, but the corrections made to resolve this error have meant that the turnover timeseries has been revised by more than usual in this year’s publication (a decrease of up to 8% in each year between 2009 and 2018). This change in turnover can be seen in the biopharmaceutical core and service and supply sectors.

In 2021, there were 6,548 businesses operating in the UK life sciences industry over 7,599 sites. These businesses employed 282,000 people and generated £94.2bn of turnover.

The number of businesses and the number of sites across these businesses have both seen an upward trend since 2009, with 23% more businesses and 32% more sites operating in 2021 compared to 2009. Between 2018 and 2021, the number of businesses remained broadly stable but the number of sites has seen a small increase in the same period. In 2021, there was a 3% increase in the number of sites compared to 2020. With the exception of a slight decrease between 2016 and 2017, both sites and businesses saw gradual increases each year prior to 2018, with a more substantial rise between 2017 and 2018.

Figure 1: number of businesses and sites in the UK life sciences industry

Similarly, employment in the life sciences industry has seen an overall upward trend between 2009 and 2021. Employment has seen a sharper increase since 2019, rising from 262,100 in 2019 to 282,000 in 2021, an increase of 8%. Year-on-year changes have ranged between a decrease of 2% seen between 2011 and 2012 to a 4% increase seen between 2014 and 2015 and also between 2020 and 2021.

Figure 2: employment in the UK life sciences industry

Turnover generated by the life sciences industry, adjusted for inflation and based on 2021 prices, increased each year between 2013 and 2021. This was preceded by a short period of declining turnover between 2011 and 2013. Similar to trends seen in life sciences employment, turnover has also seen a sharper increase in recent years. The highest year-on-year increase in turnover, both in monetary and percentage terms, occurred between 2020 and 2021 with turnover increasing by £7.8 billion (an increase of 9%).

Figure 3: turnover generated by the UK life sciences industry

5. Life sciences industry by sector

5.1 Businesses and sites by sector

Some businesses may have multiple sites that operate in different sectors of the life sciences industry. In this analysis, these businesses will be included in each of the business counts for the sectors their sites operate in. This means that the sum of the sector business counts will be greater than the total number of businesses across the life sciences industry as a whole. More information on businesses operating over multiple sectors can be found in the accompanying background quality and user guide.

In 2021, there were 4,375 sites operating in the core sector, which accounted for 58% of total life sciences sites. Of these core sites, 995 were in the biopharmaceutical sector and 3,380 were in the medical technology sector. This meant that core biopharmaceutical sites accounted for 13% of all life sciences sites in 2021, whilst medical technology core sites accounted for 44%.

In 2021, there were a further 3,224 sites which specialised in the UK based service and supply sector, which accounted for 42% of life sciences sites. Of these service and supply sites, 1,802 were in the biopharmaceutical sector and 1,422 were in the medical technology sector. This meant that the biopharmaceutical service and supply sector accounted for 24% of all life sciences sites in 2021 and medical technology service and supply sites accounted for 19%.

All 4 sectors in the industry have seen an upward trend in the number of sites between 2009 and 2021. The biopharmaceutical sectors have experienced a steeper increase compared to the medical technology sectors. Although the core medical technology sector has consistently had the highest number of sites each year since data collection began in 2009, this increase in the number of biopharmaceutical sites has meant that the overall share of sites operating in the core medical technology sector has decreased from 50% in 2009 to 44% in 2021

All 4 sectors saw increases in the number of sites between 2020 and 2021, with the largest absolute increase seen in the core medical technology sector, which increased its sites by 133, or 4%.

Figure 4: number of life sciences sites by sector

5.2 Industry employment by sector

Employment in core businesses was 176,800 in 2021, which accounted for 63% of all life sciences employment. Around two thirds (112,300 people) were employed in the medical technology core sector, compared to 64,500 in the core biopharmaceutical sector.

In 2021, 105,200 people were employed in businesses operating in the UK based service and supply sector, which accounted for 37% of people employed in the life sciences industry. In contrast to core businesses, most of the employment for service and supply businesses was within the biopharmaceutical sector, which accounted for 71,800 (around two thirds) of the total 105,200 employed in the service and supply sectors in 2021.

The sector with the highest employment out of the four sectors was the core medical technology sector, which accounted for 40% of employment in the life sciences industry in 2021. This has consistently been the sector with the highest share of employment since 2009 and its share of total life sciences industry employment has stayed broadly consistent over time.

The biopharmaceutical service and supply sector experienced the steepest percentage increase in employment between 2020 and 2021, with an increase of 9% in that time period. This continues the sharp upward trend that has been seen in the sector since 2015. All other sectors have also seen increasing employment between 2020 and 2021, but to a lesser extent than the biopharmaceutical service and supply sector.

Figure 5: UK life sciences employment by sector

5.3 Industry turnover by sector

Turnover values in this publication are reported in 2021 prices, using GDP deflators to adjust for inflation.

The core biopharmaceutical sector generated £40.8 billion in turnover in 2021, accounting for 43% of the life sciences industry total. In terms of turnover, this sector has consistently been the largest of the 4 sectors every year since data collection began in 2009. Turnover generated by the core biopharmaceutical sector was at its highest in 2011 (£43.1 billion), after which turnover decreased every year until it reached its lowest point at £34.0 billion in 2017. Four consecutive years of growth since then have brought turnover above £40.0 billion for the first time since 2012.

Each of the four life sciences sectors saw increases in turnover between 2020 and 2021, the largest of which were seen in the core biopharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical service and supply sectors, whose turnover values increased by £2.8bn (increase of 7%) and £2.7bn (increase of 13%) respectively.

The two core sectors have historically contributed the majority of the life sciences industry turnover, although recent growth in the biopharmaceutical service and supply sector has closed the gap between this sector and the core medical technology sector. The overall proportion of life sciences industry turnover being generated by the two core sectors has decreased over time, from 79% in 2009 to 69% in 2021.

Figure 6: turnover generated by the life sciences industry by sector

6. Variation across the UK

6.1 UK life sciences industry employment

The South East had the highest employment of all regions in the UK at 67,000 in 2021, accounting for 24% of all employment in the industry. The South East had the highest share of employment consistently between 2009 and 2021. Despite this, the share of employment based in the South East has declined slightly from 26% in 2009.

The second highest region in terms of life sciences industry employment in 2021 was the East of England, which accounted for 38,000 (or 13%) of total employment. Employment in this region saw an increase of 1% between 2020 and 2021, although employment in 2021 remained lower than the peak of 40,200 seen in 2017.

In 2021, 11% of life sciences industry employment was based in London. Employment in this region has generally followed an upward trend over time, from 19,300 (which was equivalent to 9% of the total industry employment) in 2009 to 31,700 in 2021. This increase in life sciences employment meant that London overtook the North West to become the UK region with the third highest employment in 2021.

Life sciences industry employment increased sharply between 2019 and 2021, with each individual region seeing an increase in employment over this time period. London saw the highest percentage increase at 18%. The South East also saw a percentage increase in employment of 6% in the same time period. All regions had higher employment in 2021 compared to 2009, with the largest net increases seen in London, the South East and Yorkshire and the Humber.

Figure 7: percentage of employment in the UK life sciences industry by region in 2021

Note: the data labels in the chart are rounded to 0 decimals places but the bars represent their unrounded value

Biopharmaceutical employment

The South East had the highest employment of all regions in the biopharmaceutical sector at 33,000 in 2021, which accounted for 24% of all employment in the industry. 17,000 of this employment was in the core sector compared to 16,300 in the service and supply sector. In 2021, 26% and 23% of all employment in core biopharmaceutical and service and supply businesses respectively was in the South East.

The East of England was the UK region with the next highest share of biopharmaceutical employment in 2021, accounting for 18% (or 24,200) of the total. Biopharmaceutical employment in the East of England was at its highest (24,300) in 2016, after which the region saw 3 consecutive years of decreasing employment, followed by an increase between 2019 and 2021 which brought biopharmaceutical employment back up to a similar level to that seen in 2016.

Employment within the biopharmaceutical sector in London was at 19,500 in London, accounting for 14% of all biopharmaceutical employment. Employment in this region increased by 2,700, a percentage increase of 16%, between 2020 and 2021, which was the largest increase of all the UK regions during this time period.

Across the entire time period from 2009 to 2021, the largest regional net increase in biopharmaceutical employment was seen in London, whose employment increased by 6,300 (a percentage increase of 47%). The South East was the only region whose employment decreased over this time period, from 35,800 in 2009 to 33,300 in 2021.

The local authority districts of the UK with the highest employment in the biopharmaceutical sector in 2021 were South Cambridgeshire in the East of England region and Cheshire East in the North West at 7,200 and 6,500, respectively. The employment figures for these two districts separately each accounted for around 5% of employment in the biopharmaceutical sector.

Figure 8: distribution of employment in the biopharmaceutical sector by local authority district in 2021

Medical technology employment

Similar to the biopharmaceutical sector, in 2021 the South East had the highest share of employment in the medical technology sector (consisting of both core and service and supply businesses) with employment at 33,600, accounting for 23% of the sector total. 25,800 of this employment was in the core sector compared to 7,900 in the service and supply sector. In 2021, 23% and 24% of all employment in core medical technology and service and supply businesses respectively were in the South East.

Yorkshire and the Humber was the region with the second highest share of employment in the medical technology sector in 2021, accounting for 14,300 (or 10%) of the sector total. This region was followed closely by the North West and the East of England, where 13,900 and 13,800 people, respectively, were employed in the medical technology sector in 2021.

The South East saw the largest net increase in medical technology employment between 2009 and 2021, from 22,300 in 2009 to 33,600 in 2021 (an increase of 11,400). Over the same time period, London saw the largest percentage increase in the medical technology sector, with employment doubling from 6,100 to 12,100 between 2009 and 2021.

The local authority districts of the UK with the highest employment in the medical technology sector in 2021 were the Vale of White Horse at 3,900 and Leeds at 3,600, which accounted for a share of 3% and 2% of medical technology employment respectively.

Figure 9: distribution of employment in the medical technology sector by local authority district in 2021

6.2 UK life sciences industry turnover

Similar to employment, the South East was the UK region which generated the highest share of life sciences industry turnover, at 30% (or £28.6 billion) in 2021. This was nearly double that of the region with the second highest turnover generated (the East of England), whose turnover was valued at £14.6 billion (16% of turnover generated by the industry). The South East has consistently generated the highest turnover of all regions, and its share of total industry turnover has increased over time from 27% in 2009.

The North West and London generated £12.4 billion and £10.8 billion turnover in 2021, accounting for 13% and 11% of the life sciences industry total respectively. These two regions followed the East of England as the third and fourth highest regions in terms of the value of turnover generated in 2021.

Turnover increased across all regions between 2020 and 2021 except in the West Midlands, where turnover saw a percentage decrease by 5%. The largest value increase over this period was seen in the South East, where turnover increased by £2.5 billion, whilst Scotland and the East Midlands saw the highest relative increases in turnover over the period of 29% and 18% respectively.

Figure 10: percentage of turnover generated in the life sciences industry by region in 2021

Note: the data labels in the chart are rounded to 0 decimals places but the bars represent their unrounded value

Biopharmaceutical turnover

In 2021, the UK region with the highest turnover generated by sites operating in the biopharmaceutical sector (consisting of both core biopharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical service and supply sectors) was the South East, accounting for 31%, or £19.8bn, of the biopharmaceutical sector total. The share of total biopharmaceutical sector turnover generated in this region has increased over time from 27% in 2009.

The South East has been the UK region with the highest value of turnover generated in the biopharmaceutical sector every year since data collection began in 2009. During this time period, the South East’s biopharmaceutical turnover was at its lowest (£13.0 billion) in 2013, after which the region experienced a general upward trend, with the highest annual turnover value of the period occurring in 2021.

Between 2009 and 2021, the East of England was the second highest region in terms of biopharmaceutical turnover every year except 2015, when the North West’s turnover exceeded the East of England’s. Apart from a fairly substantial decrease in 2015, biopharmaceutical turnover generated in the East of England was broadly consistent between 2009 and 2019, after which the region experienced two years of consecutive growth.

During the period between 2009 and 2021, the North West recorded its highest turnover for the biopharmaceutical sector in 2021, when turnover was valued at £9.3 billion. This region had previously seen a period of decreasing biopharmaceutical sector turnover between 2017 and 2019 (to £7.5 billion by 2019), after which there were two consecutive years of growth.

In 2021, the local authority district that generated the highest value of biopharmaceutical turnover was the Vale of White Horse, which accounted for 9% (or £5.5 billion) of total turnover in the biopharmaceutical sector. This local authority district was closely followed by Cheshire East, which generated £5.4 billion (8% of the total biopharmaceutical sector turnover in 2021).

Figure 11: distribution of turnover in the biopharmaceutical sector by local authority district in 2021

Medical technology turnover

In 2021, the UK region with the highest turnover generated by sites operating in the medical technology sector (consisting of both core medical technology and medical technology service and supply) was the South East, accounting for 29%, or £8.8 billion, of the medical technology sector total.

The South East has consistently been the highest UK region in terms of medical technology turnover every year since data collection began in 2009. The highest year on year increase (relative and absolute) occurred between 2020 and 2021, when the value of turnover increased by £0.6 billion (a percentage increase of 8%). Similarly, London saw an increase of £0.3 billion (a percentage increase of 15%), from £1.9 billion in 2020 to £2.2 billion in 2021.

The next highest regions in terms of turnover generated by sites operating in the medical technology sector in 2021 were the East of England and the North West, accounting for £3.3 billion (11% share) and £3.1 billion (10% share) of the total medical technology sector turnover. Like the South East, both regions saw an increase in medical technology turnover between 2020 and 2021, with the North West and the East of England seeing increases of £0.4 billion and £0.3 billion respectively.

In 2021, the top 4 local authority districts in terms of the value of medical technology turnover were all located in the South East. The local authority district which generated the highest value of turnover was Buckinghamshire, which accounted for £1.2 billion (or 4%) of the medical technology turnover total in 2021.

Figure 12: distribution of turnover in the medical technology sector by local authority district in 2021

7. Life sciences industry segments

Each site covered in this publication is allocated a segment based on the activity carried out there. A full list of these segments and more details on their definitions can be found in the accompanying background quality and user guide in section “11. Sector and segmentation classification scheme”.

A small proportion of businesses in the database have more than one site. As segments are allocated at the site level, it is possible for sites belonging to the same business to be allocated different segments to each other (meaning that turnover and employment figures for a single business may be split between multiple segments).

7.1 Employment by segmentation

Biopharmaceutical sector

In 2021, the segment within the biopharmaceutical sector with the highest employment was small molecules (a segment within the core sector). This segment accounted for 49,200, or 36%, of total employment in the biopharmaceutical sector. The small molecules segment had more than double the employment of the second highest segment in the biopharmaceutical sector (contract manufacturing/research organisation), where employment was 23,600 in 2021.

The small molecule segment has continuously had the highest employment of biopharmaceutical sites since 2009. However, employment in this segment has reduced since 2009, with employment dropping from 56,100 in 2009 (a percentage decrease of 12% between 2009 and 2021). Despite the net decrease from 2009 to 2021, the small molecule segment started to see an upward trend from 2019, with employment seeing a percentage increase of 4% between 2019 and 2021.

All other biopharmaceutical segments with employment over 10,000 in 2021 were in the service and supply sector. These include the contract manufacturing/research organisations, reagent, equipment and consumable supplier sites, and the clinical research organisation sites.

Figure 13: percentage of employment in the biopharmaceutical sector by segment in 2021

Notes:

  • only the 10 segments with the highest share of employment are shown
  • the data labels in the chart are rounded to 0 decimals places but the bars represent their unrounded value

Medical technology sector

In 2021, the medical technology segment with the highest employment was digital health. This segment employed 16,400 people in 2021 and accounted for 11% of all people employed in the medical technology sector. The digital health segment has continuously been the segment with the highest employment since 2010 and has seen a continuous upward trend since 2009, with a sharp increase between 2015 and 2021 (a percentage increase of 65%). Between 2020 and 2021, employment in digital health increased by 12%.

All other segments accounted for less than 10% of medical technology sector employment. The next highest segments in terms of medical technology sector employment in 2021 were single use technology (10,200), assistive technology (9,800), and in-vitro diagnostic technology (9,600).

Figure 14: percentage of employment in the medical technology sector by segment in 2021

Notes:

  • only the 10 segments with the highest share of employment are shown
  • the data labels in the chart are rounded to 0 decimals places but the bars represent their unrounded value

7.2 Turnover by segmentation

Biopharmaceutical sector

Similar to employment, the core small molecules segment generated the highest turnover of all biopharmaceutical segments, with £34.9 billion of turnover in 2021. This accounted for over half of turnover generated from the biopharmaceutical sector. The small molecule segment has consistently been the top segment in terms of turnover since data collection began in 2009, although turnover in the segment followed a downward trend between 2011 and 2017. After 2017, turnover in this segment saw 4 consecutive years of growth, with turnover in 2021 reaching its highest value for the period between 2009 and 2021.

Following small molecules, the next two highest biopharmaceutical segments in terms of turnover were the reagent, equipment and consumables supplier segment and the contract manufacturing/research organisation segment. Both of these segments operate in the service and supply sector and have experienced substantial growth in terms of turnover, with rises of 76% and 158% respectively since 2009, and rises of 14% and 30% between 2020 and 2021.

Figure 15: percentage of turnover in the biopharmaceutical sector by segment in 2021

Notes:

  • only the 10 segments with the highest share of turnover are shown
  • the data labels in the chart are rounded to 0 decimals places but the bars represent their unrounded value

Medical technology sector

Within the medical technology sector, the segment which generated the highest value of turnover in 2021 was single use technology. This segment generated £3.0 billion in turnover in 2021, which was 10% of the total turnover in the medical technology sector in 2021 and a 53% increase from 2020. Prior to 2020, turnover in this segment had seen a slight upward trend between 2009 and 2017 before seeing a short decline from 2017 to 2019.

Following single use technology, the next two highest medical technology segments in terms of the value of turnover generated in 2021 were in vitro diagnostic technology and digital health (generating £2.6 billion and £2.0 billion respectively), both of which are also within the core sector. Like single use technology, turnover generated within the in vitro diagnostic segment saw substantial growth between 2020 and 2021, increasing by 46%.

Within the service and supply sector, the reagent, equipment and consumables supplier also generated a substantial amount of turnover in 2021 (£1.9 billion), a 16% increase on the previous year.

Figure 16: percentage of turnover in the medical technology sector by segment in 2021

Notes:

  • only the 10 segments with the highest share of turnover are shown
  • the data labels in the chart are rounded to 0 decimals places but the bars represent their unrounded value

8. Manufacturing and research activity in life sciences sites

In this section of the report, turnover and employment figures relate to sites where any manufacturing or R&D activity takes place. Some of these sites will undertake types of work in addition to manufacturing or research, and therefore employment and turnover from these sites includes contributions from non-manufacturing or non-research activities.

Some sites will undertake both manufacturing and R&D activities, meaning that the figures on turnover and employment for each of these sites are not mutually exclusive.

8.1 Manufacturing sites

There were 2,068 sites in 2021 involved in the manufacturing of life sciences products across the UK. The number of manufacturing sites has seen a slight downward trend since 2013, when the number of sites involved in manufacturing was at its highest (2,193) for the period between 2009 and 2021. In 2021, 27% of the total number of sites operating in life sciences industry were involved in manufacturing. This proportion has declined year-on-year since 2009, when 37% of sites were engaged in manufacturing activity. The number of sites not engaged in manufacturing activity has seen a continuous upward trend between 2009 and 2020, meaning that the total number of sites across the life sciences industry has seen an overall upward trend despite the fact that manufacturing sites have declined in number.

The region with the highest share of manufacturing sites was the South East, with 15% of sites being based in the region in 2021. Despite the South East having the highest proportion of manufacturing sites, this proportion is less than the South East’s share of all life sciences sites (18% in 2021). Other regions which also had a substantial share of the UK’s sites were Yorkshire and the Humber, the East of England, the West Midlands, and the East Midlands, each accounting for over 10% of manufacturing sites in 2021. London by comparison only accounted for 6% of manufacturing sites in 2021.

In 2021, employment at sites engaged in manufacturing activities was at 115,200, a relative increase of 3% from 2020. Employment at manufacturing sites has increased overall between 2009 and 2021 and has broadly followed an upward trend in contrast to the number of sites. Despite this, there were periods during this time frame when employment declined, most notably between 2011 and 2014, and between 2017 and 2019. Employment increased notably between 2019 and 2021, from 109,800 to 115,200 (an increase of 5,400, or 5%).

The region with the highest share of employment at manufacturing sites was the South East, with a share of 21% in 2021. This was substantially higher than the share of the region with the second highest employment, the East of England, which accounted for 12% of employment in 2021. By contrast, London accounted for only 3% of employment at manufacturing sites.

Manufacturing sites generated £35.1bn of turnover in 2021, up from £31.6bn in 2020 – a relative increase of 11%. Turnover generated from manufacturing sites has fluctuated between 2009 and 2021 but there was an overall upward trend between 2015 and 2021 with a sharper rise between 2019 and 2021.

Similar to the number of sites and employment, the South East was the UK region which generated the highest value of turnover from sites engaged in manufacturing activity in 2021, a position it has held consistently since 2009. Sites in the South East generated 23% of all turnover in 2021, although this proportion has declined from 30% in 2014 (the highest share between 2009 and 2021). Sites in the East of England also accounted a high proportion of the turnover generated by manufacturing sites, at 19% in 2021. By contrast, sites in the London region only accounted for 2% of the total turnover generated from manufacturing sites.

Figure 17: number of sites engaged in manufacturing activity and number of sites not engaged in manufacturing activity

8.2 Research and development (R&D) sites

In 2021, there were 2,428 life sciences sites in the UK that engaged in R&D activity. The number of sites engaged in R&D activity has seen a notable upward trend between 2009 and 2021. The proportion of total UK sites operating in the life sciences industry that engaged in R&D activity has remained broadly stable since 2009, with 32% of sites engaging in R&D activity in 2021.

The regions with the highest share of sites with R&D activity in 2021 were the South East and the East of England, with 18% of total R&D sites based in each region. This is consistent with the South East region’s share of all life sciences sites in 2021 (also 18%), but higher than the East of England region’s share of all life sciences sites (15%). London had the third highest share of sites engaged in R&D activity at 15% in 2021.

In 2021, R&D sites reached employment of 96,800, a relative increase of 5% from 2020. Employment at sites engaged in R&D activity broadly followed an upward trend after 2014 and saw a sharper rise between 2019 and 2021.

The region with the highest share of employment at sites engaged in R&D activity was the South East, with a share of 25% in 2021. The East of England also accounted for a substantial proportion of employment at R&D sites in 2021, with a share of 19%. London was the UK region with the third highest employment at sites engaged in R&D activity, with a share of 10% in 2021.

R&D sites generated £29.2 billion of turnover in 2021, up from £26.4 billion in 2020, a relative increase of 11%. For the period between 2009 and 2021, turnover generated from R&D sites was at its lowest in 2015, at £21.5 billion, after which turnover increased each year, with the largest increase occurring between 2020 and 2021.

Similar to the number of sites and employment, the South East has consistently been the UK region which generated the highest total turnover for R&D sites since 2015. Between 2009 and 2014 the East of England had the highest proportion of sites engaged in R&D activity. The South East’s share of turnover generated at R&D sites has grown continuously each year, from 26% in 2009 to 43% in 2021. The share of R&D site turnover held by the South East in 2021 was more substantial than the region’s share of R&D sites and R&D employment (18% and 25%, respectively). Sites in the East of England also generated a high proportion of the turnover generated by R&D sites, at 21% in 2021. By contrast sites in the London region only generated 7% of the total turnover generated from R&D sites.

Figure 18: number of sites engaged in R&D activity and sites not engaged in any R&D activity

9. Genomics sites

Genomics is an interdisciplinary field of science and technology focused on the study of genomes. In this analysis the focus is on the study of the human genome and the application of the resulting knowledge to human health. Since the instigation of the Human Genome Project in 2001, the field and its applications have grown.

In this analysis, sites with genomics activity are assigned a level 1 and level 2 genomics classification. More details on the categories used in these classifications can be found in the accompanying background quality and user guide in section “11. Sector and segmentation classification scheme”. This classification is entirely separate from the sector/segment descriptions also assigned to sites.

In 2021, there were 96 sites that engaged in genomics activity, employing 4,100 people. The number of sites has continuously increased year-on-year from 33 sites in 2009.

Employment has seen substantial increases since 2009 with sharp increases year-on-year since 2017. There was a 12% rise in employment at sites with genomics activity between 2020 and 2021.

The genomics area with the highest employment was sequencing, which involves decoding the order of the nucleotides in a genome. There were 2,300 people employed at sites engaged primarily in sequencing activity in 2021, accounting for 56% of total employment at sites engaged in genomics activities. Employment in sites specialising in sequencing has more than more than doubled between 2009 and 2021 despite seeing decreases between 2015 and 2017.

A further 30% of people employed at sites involved in genomics activity were employed in sites engaged in the application of genomics (the process of directly using genomic information to improve targeting of clinical services), which is divided into diagnostics, clinical services and drug development. This area has also seen substantial rises between 2009 and 2021 with a 16% increase in employment between 2020 and 2021.

Figure 19: employment at sites engaged in genomic activity

The value of turnover generated by genomics sites in 2021 was £2.5 billion, an increase of 2% compared to 2020. Turnover, in terms of real prices, has been broadly stable between 2019 and 2021 following a sharp upward trend between 2014 and 2019. Turnover in 2019 was more than 5 times higher than the turnover generated in 2014.

Sites undertaking sequencing activity, which includes sub-categories of consumables, instruments and services, generated the highest turnover of all activities in 2021. These sites generated £2.3 billion in turnover in 2021, accounting for 91% of all turnover generated by sites engaged in genomics activities. Turnover generated from sites specialising in sequencing consistently accounted for the majority of turnover generated from all genomics sites for the period 2009 to 2021.

Figure 20: turnover generated from sites engaged in genomics activity

10. Size and ownership of life sciences businesses

10.1 Business size

In this publication, the accuracy and coverage of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) classification has been improved. These improvements have been applied to the SME status for businesses in 2021 data only. It is anticipated that this work will be applied to earlier years in the dataset in future publications. Companies are categorised as SME or non-SME using the European Union standard definition of small and medium-sized enterprises.

In 2021, there were 5,854 sites that were part of SMEs in the UK, which accounted for 77% of all life sciences sites. These sites generated £8.1 billion in turnover (9% of total turnover generated by the life sciences sector) and employed 68,900 people (24% of total employment in the life sciences sector).

Of all the sites in 2021, there was a small number (0.1%), where the SME classification was unknown.

The proportion of life sciences sites that were part of SMEs varies by region. The East Midlands had the highest proportion of sites that were a part of SMEs, at 81%, compared to the South East which had the lowest (72%). The East Midlands similarly had the highest proportion of employment at sites belonging to SMEs, at 31%.

In the South East, 19% of turnover generated in the region was from sites belonging to SMEs, the highest of all regions.

Figure 21: percentage of employment, sites and turnover by SME status

10.2 Company ownership

In this publication, improvements have been made to the accuracy and coverage of the business ownership classification in the dataset. These improvements have been applied to the ownership for businesses in 2021 data only. It is anticipated that this work will be applied to earlier years in the dataset in future publications.

The data sources used to compile this report contain information on the ultimate global owner of the businesses in the database. This information is available for 70% (5,344) of the sites with data relating to 2021. However, the sites where the owner origin is not known account for a small proportion of total industry employment (7%) and turnover (2%).

In 2021, 26% of life sciences sites were identified as being owned by overseas companies. However, it’s important to note that the owner origin was unknown for a substantial proportion of sites (30%). The sites that were identified as having overseas ownership accounted for 68% of total life sciences industry turnover and 55% of employment in 2021.

Figure 22 percentage of employment, sites and turnover by company ownership

11. Terminology

Industry: used to collectively describe all sectors covered in the analysis used in the BaHTSS series.

Principal sector: The top level of the segmentation scheme used to describe biopharmaceuticals and medical technology.

Sector: used to describe the 4 component sectors of the life sciences industry. This includes the core biopharmaceutical, core medical technology, biopharmaceutical service and supply and medical technology service and supply sectors.

Segment: used to describe the individual product or service groups within a sector. See the background quality and user guide section “10. Sector and segmentation classification scheme” for more details on these segments.

Core biopharmaceutical sector: includes all businesses involved in developing and/or producing their own pharmaceutical products – from small, research and development (R&D) focused biotechs to multinational Big Pharma.

Biopharmaceutical service and supply sector: comprises businesses that offer goods and services to core biopharmaceutical businesses including, for example, Contract Research and Manufacturing Organisations (CRMOs), and suppliers of consumables and reagents for R&D facilities.

Core medical technology sector: includes all businesses whose primary business involves developing and producing medical technology products, ranging from single-use consumables to complex hospital equipment, including digital health products.

Medical technology service and supply sector: comprises businesses that offer services to core medical technology businesses including, for example, CRMOs, and suppliers of consumables and reagents for R&D facilities.

Genomics: an interdisciplinary field focusing on the study of the human genome and the application of resulting knowledge to human health. It is a cross-cutting categorisation across all four sectors.

Business: used to describe an entity that is the legal owner of a group of trading addresses or sites and legal entities. A business may consist of more than one site or registered company. The term business is used in this document when discussing the whole life sciences industry and the four sectors.

Sites: Businesses can operate over multiple sites over different locations in the UK. Each individual site is segmented and has employment and turnover assigned to it.

SME status: based on the European definition of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and refers to businesses with fewer than 250 employees and which either have annual turnover up to and including €50m and/or have an annual balance sheet total up to and including €43m.

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