Collaborative working is key to the future success and economic growth of Scotland’s Pharma Services Sector.

With over 160 companies working across a global platform to help improve patient outcomes, new and innovate mechanisms of working with each other, our academic institutes and our healthcare system is fundamental to supporting the development of the next generation of therapeutics and delivering value added healthcare.

In the post genome era, we have seen a shift in how new medicines are developed and brought to market.  Using innovate technology which allows us to better understand the genetic make-up of people and the diseases that afflict them, we can start to stratify patients into populations for whom the therapy will provide maximum benefit.  Additionally, continuing innovation in researching the causes of disease is allowing our researchers to pinpoint specific pathways and targets against which more effective medicines and treatment strategies can be developed.

Scotland has an established and world renowned Life Sciences sector which starts with our Scottish Universities and academic centres.  Within these organisations scientists are undertaking research alongside others who are being educated and trained to provide a continuous pipeline of talent.  It is however, at the interface between academia and the business community that this talent and the output from their research initiatives can be innovatively deployed to grow economic value, creating jobs and developing a world-wide reputation in our ability to discover, develop and manufacture therapeutics that make a difference in how healthcare can and will be delivered in the future.

Pharma services is the sub-sector of our life sciences community that is working to promote Scotland as the destination within which these challenges can be resolved.  Employing over 9000 scientists and business people, the Pharma Services industry is represented by a Pharma Services Steering Group which was established through the work of the Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group to explore and develop a strategy that would see the community come together and work more closely with multiple stakeholders to promote the assets of Scotland.  Through alignment of these assets all the way along the drug development pipeline, collaboration and a shared vision of a “Scotland PLC”, is helping to deliver a strategy which has the aspiration of delivering 9% year on year growth to achieve an annual turnover of £2.6 billion through export led activity.

The strategy itself is developing a Scottish network that can work together in collaboration, playing to the strengths of our companies and stakeholders, building the brand of “Scotland PLC” through the delivery of evidence based metrics whilst increasing international growth through innovative models of governance and trade.  Working together with our colleagues involved in the newly launched manufacturing strategy for life and chemical sciences in Scotland, we are firm believers that closer links and collaboration  between our academic, pharma services and manufacturing communities will allow us to develop the skills and knowledge that can be actively commercialised to support both Scottish and global pharmaceutical companies.

By David Scott, Senior Director, Tepnel Pharma Services and Industry Chair of the Pharma Services Scotland Steering Group.

David is a member of the National Centre’s Growing Value Task Force, which will be releasing conclusions and recommendations on the future of university business collaboration in Scotland, on 25 May.