Introduction

Essex’s life sciences and healthcare cluster is comprised of around 300 companies (Experian), specialising in the following areas . . .

  • Research, development and manufacture of medical devices
  • Biotechnology
  • Pharmaceutical research and development (R&D)
  • Medtech
  • Digihealth
  • Genomics
  • Synthetic biology
  • Drug discovery

Knowledge and Innovation

Domainex scientist holding test tube

Essex’s strategic location – between London and Cambridge – provides businesses with direct access to world-leading centres of Life Science and Healthcare research and development . . .

  • The London-Stansted-Cambridge Innovation Corridor encompasses 37 world-class life sciences research centres and 1,400 life sciences businesses
  • Essex provides easy access to two of Europe’s top three ranked universities for life sciences -the University of Cambridge and University College London (UCL) *
  • Chesterford Research Park, Essex – a key asset in the Cambridge region’s life sciences research cluster – is located just 14 miles (35 minutes’ drive time) from central Cambridge
  • Construction also began on Harlow Science Park in October 2018, with the aim of creating a collaborative progressive sci-tech community within the Harlow Enterprise Zone. Once opened, there is the potential for 5,000 jobs at the site
  • The opening of Public Health England’s £400m national science hub in 2021 is a major boost to the already burgeoning reputation of Harlow as a centre of excellence for life-sciences and will continue to make Harlow an attractive option for business within the life-sciences industry. This hub has the potential to create 2,750 jobs once opened
  • The University of Essex is a UK Top 20 ranked university for research excellence (REF, 2014), was ranked 22nd overall in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and was also presented with their University of the Year award in the same year

*(Times Higher Education rankings, 2019)

Life Sciences Workforce

Essex can provide businesses with access to a large-scale, highly skilled Life Sciences and Healthcare workforce:

  • The London-Stansted-Cambridge Innovation Corridor accounts for 43,000 jobs in life sciences – 19.6% of England’s total employment in the sector
  • The universities of Essex, Cambridge and London together provide 35,500 new medicine, life sciences and healthcare graduates every year
  • Every year, Essex enrols more than twice as many students in life science-related courses as Cambridge (10,465 compared with 4,560)

Life Sciences Accommodation

Chesterford Science Village Exterior in Essex

Essex can provide high-specification research, technology and business park accommodation for life sciences and healthcare companies, including . . .

  • Chesterford Research Park – one of the Cambridge cluster’s key research and development locations – just 14 miles from Cambridge city centre
  • Harlow Enterprise Zone – strategically located between London and Cambridge, with direct access to the M11 and Stansted Airport
  • MedBIC Business Innovation Centre – located on Anglia Ruskin University’s Chelmsford campus, providing state-of-the-art accommodation for medical and advanced engineering technology businesses

Significant Cost Savings

Essex’s strategic location between the major life science hubs of London and Cambridge provides companies with easy access to both centres while reducing costs significantly.

In Essex, labour costs for a typical life sciences research centre are up to 30% cheaper than in comparable UK and European locations. For office accommodation, Essex can deliver cost savings of up to 85%.

Access to Markets for Life Sciences Companies

Invest ESSEX  provides the opportunity for life science businesses to access their contacts within the NHS – the world’s largest publicly funded health service.

Following the formative work done at the Biotechnology Innovation Organisation (BIO) International Convention which was held in Boston in June 2018, Invest ESSEX have been keen to help life-sciences businesses based in Essex to develop working relationships with the east coast of North America, as well as seeking inward investment from the region.

Greater Boston in the United States mirrors The East of England’s own life-sciences cluster at the heart of the London-Stansted Cambridge corridor – ‘the UK’s Innovation Corridor’, providing the perfect opportunity for collaboration between the two regions.

Essex offers proximity to the major technology business funding centres of London and Cambridge, providing companies with direct access to potential sources of bank, equity, venture capital or business angel finance. See here for our funding and finance page.

One example of the flourishing nature of the life-sciences industry in Essex is Domainex. The drug discovery company opened two offices in the US in July 2018, one in Boston and the other in San Diego. As the fastest-growing company of its kind in Europe, these expansions will give Domainex access to a broader client base. See here for our case study on Domainex. 

Meanwhile, Invest ESSEX continues to support the development of Harlow Science Park, which will provide 27 acres of Grade ‘A’ collaborative work and amenity space totalling 401,650 sq ft.

Harlow Science Park

UK and International Connectivity

Essex delivers unbeaten connectivity to UK and international markets, for business people, freight and data . . .

  • Just 30 minutes from London’s global business and life sciences hub (by train)
  • Prestigious business locations just 35 minutes from Cambridge (drive time)
  • Direct access to the UK motorway network via M25, London’s orbital motorway, and M11
  • Half-an-hour train journey between London Stansted Airport (serving direct flights to Europe, North America, and Asia) and Cambridge
  • 6 London airports within 75 minutes drive time (including London Heathrow), delivering comprehensive global connectivity
  • ‘The UK’s Multimodal Gateway’: 4 international deep sea ports, 6 rail freight terminals and the UK’s 3rd largest cargo airport (London Stansted Airport) in Essex
  • UK top-ranked broadband internet coverage (Ofcom rank: 1)
  • As part of the Crossrail programme, major investments are currently going into the railway system between Shenfield and Stratford, with 12 trains per hour between the two stations at peak times
London Stansted aerial image

If you are interested in opportunities within the following areas: research, development and manufacture of medical devices; biotechnology; pharmaceutical research and development (R&D); medtech; digihealth; genomics; synthetic biology; drug discovery, then contact our Inward Investment Manager for Life Sciences, Dave Russell-Graham, below.