SBC and the economic benefit of life sciences

This independent report reveals SBC's key role in delivering the economic benefit of life sciences

An outstanding environment for innovation and commercialisation

SBC is a leading location where around 40 companies are working to develop and commercialise cutting edge therapeutics. At the centre of the largest group of cell and gene companies in Europe, it is close to the academic centres of London, Cambridge and Oxford.

A supportive environment is wrapped around occupiers which provides access to mentoring, specialist scientific equipment, business support and investors.

The excellent work being done at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is a perfect example of the kind of public/private partnership cluster we need to see across the whole of the UK. I hope it will inspire other clusters in other parts of the country to similar growth and productivity in the years ahead as we develop our high skill Innovation Nation economy of the future.

George Freeman
Science, Research and Innovation Minister

  • Largest cell and gene cluster in Europe

    SBC is at the centre of the largest cell and gene cluster in Europe, and the third largest globally

  • Cell and Gene Theraphy Catapult

    The co-located Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult supports the development, scale-up and commercialisation of cell and gene therapies

  • Highly skilled workforce

    More than 50% of people working in SBC-based companies have PhDs

  • Equality in science

    The people working at SBC-based companies are an equal split of women and men

Benefits for occupiers

Occupiers are attracted by SBC’s image and reputation, its location and the opportunity to interact with similar organisations.

Since opening, 87% of occupiers have continued to prosper, compared with the national survival rate of 65-70% for start-ups after the first three years.

Bioscience companies say the support from SBC and its location have enabled them to reduce product development time by an average of nine months.

  • Interaction

    All of SBC's occupiers say they have interacted with the other organisations on campus

  • Reputation and image

    Occupiers rank the “reputation and image of SBC” as their top reason for being based here

  • 9 months faster

    Bioscience companies say the support from SBC and its location have enabled them to reduce product development time by an average of nine months

  • Higher survival rates

    Since opening, 87% of occupiers have continued to prosper, compared with the national survival rate of 65-70% for start-ups after the first three years

From a standing start in 2012, we have built a thriving cluster of life sciences companies focussed on developing and commercialising advanced therapeutics. It is the people, their interaction with each other and the environment in which they work that drives innovation success. Our companies are not only making a very significant economic contribution to the UK but also improving the quality of people’s lives.

Dr Sally Ann Forsyth OBE
CEO of SBC

SBC’s economic impact is highly significant at the local and national level

The report shows that SBC is creating a unique environment that supports bioscience companies and enables them not just to grow, but to thrive:

  • SBC-based companies contributed a gross value added (GVA) of £87m p.a. (£34m net GVA p.a.) to the UK's economy in 2020
  • As developments progress, figures are expected to increase to £417m gross GVA p.a. (£165m net GVA p.a.) contribution to the UK's economy by 2040
  • There is potential to deliver 2,900 jobs and a cumulative net GVA of £740m over the 20-year period.
  • £87m gross GVA in 2020

    SBC-based companies added a gross GVA of £87m (£34m net GVA) p.a. to the UK economy in 2020

  • £417m gross GVA

    SBC-based companies are predicted to contribute £417m gross GVA (£165m net GVA) p.a. to the UK economy by 2040

  • Top four £5bn

    The total market value of the top four companies that have been based at SBC is now more than £5bn

  • Top ten £1.3bn funding

    The top 10 companies currently at SBC have raised £1.3bn in commercial investment

Stevenage is a leading destination for medical and scientific innovation in the UK and Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is a core component of that, supporting UK life science SMEs as they scale up.

Dr Tony Wood
SVP, Medicinal Science & Technology, GSK

Private equity investment comparable with Cambridge, Oxford and London

Since opening in 2012 and the end of 2020, occupiers at SBC had attracted finance totalling £1.6bn through private equity of £0.8bn, public offerings of £0.4bn and acquisitions of £0.4bn. An additional £1.2bn by December 2021 has brought the total to £2.8bn.

The report’s findings are consistent with research prepared by Beauhurst and published by Hertfordshire Local Economic Partnership in 2021. The research shows that the total private equity investment in biotechnology raised in Stevenage between 2017 and 2020 is similar to that of Cambridge, Oxford and London, but the average deal size in Stevenage was more than five times greater than the other clusters.

  • £2bn finance

    Between 2012 and 2020, SBC-based companies had attracted over £2bn in finance, of which £700m was in 2020 alone

  • Range of investments

    Of the £2bn raised by companies whilst at SBC up to 2020, half was in the form of grant, equity and seed funds, the remainder in public offerings and acquisitions

  • Private equity investment

    The total private equity investment in biotechnology raised in Stevenage is similar to that of Cambridge, Oxford and London

  • Outstanding equity raised

    Between 2017 and 2020, Stevenage, Cambridge, Oxford and London raised similar levels of biotech equity investment but the average deal size in Stevenage was more than five times greater

This exciting new report illustrates the benefits to the local region and national agenda, and highlights the potential for further growth and investment.

Mark Bretton
Chair, Hertfordshire LEP and Chair, LEP Network

Find out more about SBC’s role in delivering the economic benefit of life sciences

Download the report

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