A key figure in the drive to double the size of the life sciences sector in Aberdeen has joined the national industry leadership group. The development highlights the importance of north east Scotland’s growing company cluster to the sector’s national priorities.
Prof Stephen Logan, who chairs the life sciences board at Opportunity North East (ONE), has been appointed to the Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group (LSS ILG).
The LSS ILG is a collaboration between industry, enterprise agencies and government. Its remit is to develop, drive and deliver the life sciences strategy in Scotland. Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation Ivan McKee and Dave Tudor, Managing Director of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, co-chair the LSS ILG.
Earlier this month the ILG published the Scottish Life Sciences Covid-19 Strategic Response Plan with three areas of focus to ensure patients have access to new and existing treatments and services and that the sector continues its remarkable growth; pharmaceutical supply chain and innovation; health technology; and animal health, agritech and aquaculture.
Scotland’s life sciences sector aims to reach a turnover of £8 billion by 2025. The industry currently employs more than 41,000 people across 770 organisations with a turnover of £6.5 billion. The sector, which is at the forefront of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to record growth and significant investment.
In north east Scotland, industry's ambition is to double the number of life sciences companies in Aberdeen as part of long-term economic diversification. ONE is working with regional and national partners – including companies, University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University, NHS Grampian and government – to deliver a comprehensive programme of action and investment. The £40 million BioHub investment on the Foresterhill Health Campus – that moves into its main construction phase next year – will provide bespoke growth support programmes and new, purpose-built facilities for businesses, from pre-commercialisation through to established growth companies.
Dave Tudor, Industry Chair of Life Sciences Scotland, “We are delighted that Professor Logan is joining the Industry Leadership Group at this exciting time for the life sciences sector. We look forward to him sharing his expertise and experience from the vibrant life sciences community in the north east of Scotland to strengthen the sector in Scotland.”
Prof Logan said the appointment reflected the strong alignment between the regional and national growth ambitions.
“The profile of life sciences has never been higher. Society, governments and markets look to drug companies, researchers and clinicians to provide solutions. This includes solutions to the pandemic and long-term global health challenges including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and antimicrobial resistance,” he said.
“In north east Scotland, the sector is very active responding to coronavirus with companies innovating, multiple research projects and significant collaboration between academics, clinicians and industry. The events of 2020 have underlined the potential for collaborative innovation and commercialisation to bring forward new therapeutics, digital health solutions and medtech to enhance healthcare delivery and improve patient outcomes.
“ONE is working with partners to grow our life sciences sector and pull research and innovation through into products and services faster than before, enable company creation and growth, and increase high-value jobs and training opportunities.
“There is robust alignment between the action and investment in life sciences in the region and the national sector strategy. We have common goals across innovation and commercialisation, creating the right business environment and support for life sciences, maximising our global footprint, and anchoring economic growth – companies and jobs – for the long term.
“Life sciences has a clear vision for its growth, supported by transformational projects, action and investment. The outlook for life sciences in Aberdeen is very positive. We look forward to working with the Industry Leadership Group to develop our health economy and drive economic recovery,” said Prof Logan.
Prof Logan is a director of Opportunity North East and chairs the ONE Life Sciences sector board. He is also chair of BioAberdeen, the new company formed to deliver BioHub.
BioHub is one of the industry innovation projects supported by the Aberdeen City Region Deal (ACRD), a partnership between the UK Government, Scottish Government, Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and ONE. The UK Government and Scottish Government are co-funding £20 million of capital funding for BioHub via ACRD. ONE is the lead partner for the project and has committed £3.6 million from its budget to operate the BioHub and deliver specialist support programmes. The delivery partners for BioHub are ONE, the University of Aberdeen and NHS Grampian, and the Aberdeen City Region Deal.
Prof Logan was previously Senior Vice-Principal at the University of Aberdeen. He joined the University in 1994 as its first Professor of Neuroscience and went on to serve as Dean of the Medical School and Vice-Principal before becoming Senior Vice-Principal. He retired from the University in 2016. Prof Logan was chairman of NHS Grampian from 2015 until 2019. Prof Logan is a board member of TauRX Pharmaceuticals and currently chairs the board of Aberdeen Science Centre.
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