Office for Life Sciences Business Event in York
On Wednesday August 7th, the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership (YNYER LEP) hosted a roundtable event for the Office for Life Sciences (OLS), in the centre of York, connecting them with life sciences businesses from across the region.
A number of life sciences businesses are located in the local enterprise partnership area, with clusters in both York and Harrogate. The OLS is part of the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, championing research, innovation and the use of technology to transform health and care services.
Life sciences refers to businesses involved in developing and/or production of pharmaceutical or med-tech products, including digital health, for human health purposes. The UK life sciences industry employs 248,400 people in 5,870 businesses generating a turnover of £73.8bn. 80% of the businesses in the industry are SMEs, with those located in Yorkshire and the Humber making up 7% of all UK employment in life sciences.
Life sciences businesses play a critical role in the long-term health of our economy, developing health products that can address the challenges created by an ageing society. Whilst this event focussed on EU exit, with the OLS updating businesses on Government planning for Brexit in areas such as regulation, borders and migration, it also served as an opportunity for businesses to share their concerns, influence government policy and feed into the development of a Local Industrial Strategy.
A number of SMEs attended the event, which was hosted by James Farrar, Chief Operating Officer of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership. James said of the event, “life sciences is a growing sector both nationally and regionally. The LEP area is home to a number of businesses specialising in med-tech and biopharmaceuticals, with York a distinct location for both. It is great that the Office for Life Sciences is engaging with SMEs in our area on Brexit, especially as we head towards the October 31st deadline to leave the EU. It is essential businesses are prepared for the impact of Brexit and the provision of sector specific advice is crucial to ensuring our businesses are resilient and prepared for opportunities that will come out of Brexit. This is a priority for our Growth Hub over the coming months.
Chris Yates from Abingdon Health, a life sciences business based in York and specialising in the development and manufacturing of lateral flow immunoassay rapid diagnostic tests said, “The feedback from the Office of Life Sciences on the possible impact of a no-deal Brexit was extremely useful and we thank the local enterprise partnership for hosting it. It is clear from the meeting that there is still a great deal of preparation required from the Government in advance of the 31st October and the possible impact on business and the wider economy should not be underestimated, that said, these events do help businesses to consider and prepare for all eventualities. I would urge my colleagues in the life sciences sector to move forward with preparations as the challenges are complex and wide-ranging; from regulation and CE marking, knowing your shipping routes and mode of shipment, to putting in place VAT registration within each territory within the EU.”
This event comes alongside a programme of events that the local enterprise partnership is hosting across the region, with local authorities, businesses and providers, to build a Local Industrial Strategy that will direct growth across the region for the next 30 years.