How is the UAE supporting UK LIFE SCIENCES?

09 May 2021

Lab Chat

The UAE has signalled its intention to support the UK life sciences sector via the launch of a Sovereign Investment Partnership (SIP) between the two countries. The deal was inked by Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Investment Company and the newly-created UK Office for Investment (OfI), in collaboration with the British Department for International Trade.

Under the terms of the arrangement, the SIP will see the two nations strengthen their diplomatic ties, driving growth, employment and economic recovery in a post-coronavirus world. As part of the initial phase of the SIP’s operations, Mubadala will invest £800 million into the British life sciences sector over a five-year period.

What are life sciences?

The term “life sciences” is a broad umbrella which covers any academic discipline concerning itself with the scientific study of natural life, including plants, animals and human beings. That means that a diverse array of industries is encompassed within its remit and a whole host of companies – from academic institutions and SMEs to larger commercial entities – are likely to benefit from the SIP injection of cash.

For example, life sciences include everything from the discovery and development of drugs in the UK that are so crucial to the pharmaceuticals and medical industry, to the latest advances in precision agriculture and digital technology that are bringing the British farming sector into the 21st century.

“A major win”

The first order of business for the SIP will see Mubadala pump £800 million into the sector over a five-year period, accompanied by a £200 million commitment from the UK’s own Life Sciences Investment Programme. Those funds will be used to fast-track the progress of life sciences businesses as identified jointly by Mubadala and the OfI, allowing them to expand at scale and at pace.

“It’s fantastic that we are collaborating more closely in the industries of tomorrow like science, tech and green growth, so we can build back better and deliver an investment-led, jobs-led recovery from coronavirus,” remarked Liz Truss, the UK’s

Secretary for International Trade. “This is a major win for the Office for Investment and shows how the UK is an investment destination of choice.”

Expanding horizons

The guarantee of a steady revenue stream from Mubadala is a huge boon for the UK life sciences sector, providing some much-needed stability in a time characterised by uncertainty. As the employer of as many as 250,000 Britons and responsible for an annual turnover of more than £80 billion, life sciences are a crucial component of Britain’s economic recovery.

Aside from the financial windfall, the SIP is also expected to open other doors for British companies. Mubadala have a famously broad portfolio of international research initiatives in over 50 countries around the globe, unlocking access to the expertise and insight of some of the most forward-thinking companies and academic organisations in the world.

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