Nurturing future life science leaders in the world?s greatest life science park: London. By Dr Tony Jones, Director, London Biotechnology Network
When one compares the physical area of London with many science parks internationally, it could be viewed as a large, fantastically well-stocked science park where innovation, finance and entrepreneurship all mingle on a daily basis. London is a hotbed of innovation, yet the size of its innovation sector, including its world-leading clinical and biomedical research community can appear to be a well kept secret.
Technology companies, particularly bio-pharma companies where product development and launch realistically requires global partners, choosing the right location is key to success. Those concentrated centres of excellence, finance, global connectivity and supportive commercial activity are vital. In terms of the ?Location, Location, Location? adage, London is the pre-eminent player in Europe ? and possibly the world.
London as a home to access leading-edge technology, finance, advice and labour is unquestionable given the following:
London has more venture capital groups than the top 10 other European cities combined. It?s home to the London Stock Exchange with its suite of offerings that includes the TechMARK Mediscience index, which out-performed the FTSE All Share by 10% between January 2004 and June 2006.
For an aspiring research scientist or entrepreneur, the above credentials can be overwhelming in their attraction. That said, such critical mass also brings with it the challenges of how to navigate to the right advisors, partners and investors. This is where two new initiatives launched by London Biotechnology Network (LBN) in 2007, co-supported by the London Development Agency, come into play. The networking infrastructure provide by the LBN can now be viewed under the following sub-headings:
Established by London First in mid-2000, LBN has 2,000+ members from over 800 organisations. The core focus of LBN is to create effective business forums and communication networks that bring the London biotechnology sector together in order to:
Activities managed by LBN that deliver on the above goals include:
The enormous size and diversity of London?s science and business base, whilst presenting a very exciting opportunity for individuals, HEI?s, businesses and regional stakeholders, also presents challenges. We have launched the LBN Career Track initiative with a number of key activities in mind to address hurdles such as skills gaps, new business creation, widening participation and enhancing the Academia-Industry interface. The activties planned include:
Finding the right partners, property or advisor in London can be complicated due to the vast choice. To this end, LDA has funded us to pilot the Key Account Manager initiative. This will be a team of sector experts to assist client companies in finding and meeting their key contacts in London. Acting as a first port of call, the team will be able to supply information on:
For more information,
contact Tony Jones, Director LBN, on: