The Oxford Biotech cluster is one of the most mature life science and biotechnology clusters in Europe. In 2012, around 10% (16) of all companies in the Oxford Biotech Cluster had been there for 20 years or more showing signs of the clusters maturity. At the end of 2011 there were 163 companies located within the cluster which is nearly 14% growth since 2008. The largest portion of the cluster is dedicated to drug discovery & development with 22% of companies operating in this area. Of these companies there were 292 products in the development pipeline of which 124 (42%) were in discovery & preclinical stage and 168 (58%) in the clinical stage of development. A considerable number of companies in the cluster have brought drugs to market. The Oxford biotech cluster conducts a wide range of activities from traditional drug discovery & development to medical technology innovation.
The high quality of the research being conducted in the Oxford biotech cluster can in part be attributed to the world leading university. The University of Oxford was recently ranked as the leading university in the UK and the 2nd best university in the world for overall teaching quality and research volume and reputation. The University of Oxford has a long and highly successful history in the life science sector. The university has an enviable record in producing Nobel Laureates and counts among its staff a significant number of Nobel Prize winners in Medicine, including Sir Paul Nurse and Sir John Vane. With such a significant presence in the global life science and medicine field it is no wonder that the university has a strong record of producing spin-out companies. The university is also home to the Clinical Trial Services Unit (CTSU) which has a global reputation for conducting some of the largest clinical trials in the industry. Recently CTSU conducted the ultimately unsuccessful HPS2-THRIVE study in collaboration with Merck. Further to this CTSU are currently working on the largest Biobank in the world in partnership with Chinese researchers called the Kadoorie Biobank.
Spin-out companies from the University of Oxford are supported by Oxford University Innovation. Oxford University Innovation was established in 1988 and is a wholly owned technology transfer company. In 2012, OUI was responsible for helping to start Vacmedix which will focus on developing vaccines for a range of diseases and Oxehealth which is developing technology to allow patients health to be monitored remotely. Alongside the more recent spin-outs, Isis have supported many more companies including Oxford BioMedica, Oxford Gene Technology and Celleron Therapeutics. Since 2000, over £266m of outside investment has been raised by Isis spin-out companies and 5 companies are now listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM). Alongside Isis Innovations, Oxford contains a number of other private equity companies such as Oxford Capital Partners and venture capitalists. More recently Woodford Investments have been strong supporters of the local Oxford cluster.
Oxford has developed a significant reputation in the biotechnology space with a number of highly innovative companies present in the cluster. Companies that are rapidly gaining traction in the industry include: PsiOxus, Oxford Immunotec, MidaTech Pharma, Circassia, Immunocore, Adaptimmune and Chronos Therapeutics. Many early stage companies in Oxford have attracted the interest of global companies. The diverse range of companies in the cluster, plus a long history of successful ventures, has led to a significant talent hub in the area and is a thriving area for professionals at all stages of their careers. Alongside the traditional pharma and medical device industry, a number of service companies have also developed in the cluster.
The Oxford Biotech Cluster is supported by the Oxford Biotech Network (OBN). OBN provides comprehensive support for companies within the Golden Triangle and specifically the Oxford Biotech Cluster. OBN holds a regular series of networking events called BioTuesdays, alongside one of the largest annual UK biopartnering and investment conferences called BioTrinity.
Liftstream believes that Oxford’s global reputation for excellence and the maturing biotech cluster provide exceptional opportunities to professionals in the life sciences. The world leading university, the rich entrepreneurial culture and many smaller emerging ventures nestled alongside global pharmaceutical companies and access to capital make the Oxford Cluster a compelling destination for life science professionals to progress their careers with some of the industry’s most innovative companies.