Media Release: Realising the economic potential of life sciences in Scotland


THE challenges faced by Scotland’s life sciences sector in turning research excellence into tangible economic benefits will be examined at a major conference next week.

Says a spokesperson: “Scotland’s life sciences sector is recognised for its great track record in R&D (research and development) and in developing Intellectual Property, but it is weaker when it comes to getting products to the manufacturing stage.”

Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, will address the issue of how manufacturing capacity can be strengthened in life sciences and other key economic sectors at the event, Life Sciences in Scotland: Realising the Economic Potential.

Peter Williamson will explain the key role of the NHS as a customer for life sciences products, while delegates will also hear how continuous manufacturing – making products ‘in a straight line’ rather than in a series of different processes – could revolutionise life sciences manufacturing.

Clive Badman, industrial chair of CMAC (Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation) will speak on this issue. He wrote in a recent article: “The new world looks very different. Replacing vast vat, pipes and vessels will be a single tube. The manufacturing process will start when the first raw ingredient is placed in one end; following a continuous series of steps, the final medicine will be ‘crystallised’ at the other. Instead of breaking the roadmap of chemical processes into steps, they happen in a straight line.”

Juliana Haggerty of the Centre for Process Innovation in Teesside will offer a UK perspective, while the life sciences manufacturing community is represented by Ian Stevens of Touch Bionics and Aidan Courtney from Roslin Cells.

They will deliver practical lessons from their own experience, while Julia Brown of Scottish Enterprise will report on the progress of developing a manufacturing strategy for the life and chemical sciences sector in Scotland. Kathie Haunton of Deloitte will explain how companies can best use the incentives at their disposal to create a successful manufacturing operation.

The event, which is sponsored by Irvine Bay Regeneration Company, follows a more generic life sciences conference last year. At that event, Dave Tudor, a senior manager with GSK, said: “Scotland’s R&D and its innovation are truly world class. Yet our ability to convert IP into long-term economic value is not that great.”

• Life Sciences in Scotland: Realising the Manufacturing Potential is on Tuesday 24th February at the National Galleries of Scotland, The Mound, Edinburgh. To reserve a media place, please call Rebecca Thomson on 0131 311 7237 or email

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Contact: Rebecca Thompson