Cambridge life sciences cluster set to deliver additional £1billion to the UK economy by 2032

The Cambridge life sciences cluster has the potential to contribute an additional £1bn to the UK economy by 2032, according to independent research commissioned by AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca has made another strong contribution to our understanding by commissioning this work – we are delighted to have been part of it.
- Claire Ruskin, Cambridge Network CEO

The UK life sciences sector contributes over £30bn to the UK economy each year with almost a third (£8.44bn) of this attributable to businesses and organisations that are co-located closely in ‘clusters’.

The Cambridge cluster is a vital hub for collaboration within the UK life sciences industry, with over 430 life science companies and organisations already supporting a specialised workforce of more than 15,500 and contributing around £2.9 billion annually to the UK economy.

Should the Cambridge life sciences cluster continue to grow at its current rate it has the potential to contribute a further £1 billion per annum to the UK economy in 2032 and could provide 6,000 additional jobs within the same timeframe.

Securing this success requires a strong pipeline of talent, access to research funding and early-stage growth funding. Should current levels of talent and funding for the Cambridge cluster not be sustained, the economy could lose more than £7.9 billion over the next 15 years (2017-2032).

Andy Williams, Vice President for Cambridge Strategy and Operations at AstraZeneca, said: “A strong science base is one of the jewels in the UK’s crown. Life sciences clusters such as Cambridge, where our global corporate headquarters have been located since May 2016, enable the scientific community to break down traditional boundaries to drive innovation.

"We commissioned this independent research to better understand how the opportunities within this cluster can positively shape its future, as well as the solutions we need to find collectively within this ecosystem to secure its lasting value, and ultimately address unmet patient needs.”

Jonathan Dry, Jonathan Dry, Director, Oncology Bioinformatics, IMED Biotech Unit, AstraZeneca said: “In terms of a scientific hub, Cambridge is phenomenal. The city fosters a strong culture of collaboration between not just organisations but sectors too. AstraZeneca is currently working with Microsoft and the University of Cambridge, and is a fantastic example of the cluster in action. We’ve been able to further cancer research more effectively as a result.

“Early-stage research is essential to scientific advancement and patients are beginning to benefit from the science catalysed in clusters. For example, AstraZeneca’s partnership with Cancer Research UK, is working to advance precision medicine as well as the potential for combination treatments. Together, AstraZeneca and CRUK have several trials in place and a successful symposia programme that is supporting the development of future cancer treatments.”

Andy Neely, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise and Business Relations at the University of Cambridge, commented: “The life sciences play a central role in the Cambridge cluster. Connecting people - especially their skills and ideas - to finance enables the cluster to grow and prosper. This report from AstraZeneca is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the Cambridge cluster, and demonstrates that the deep and lasting collaborations between businesses and our local universities are a crucial element underpinning the region’s economic success”.

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About MedImmune
MedImmune is the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of small molecule and biologic prescription medicines. MedImmune is pioneering innovative research and exploring novel pathways across Oncology; Respiratory, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases; and Infection and Vaccines. The MedImmune headquarters is located in Gaithersburg, Md., one of AstraZeneca’s three global R&D centres, with additional sites in Cambridge, UK, and Mountain View, CA. For more information, please visit

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas - Oncology, Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism and Respiratory. The Company also is selectively active in the areas of autoimmunity, neuroscience and infection. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.

For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter @AstraZeneca.

About Development Economics

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The research estimated that the current (2017) value of the Cambridge Life Sciences cluster is £2.92 billion in gross terms and £2.36 billion in net terms. It also estimated that the number of jobs attributable to the cluster is more than 15,000. The estimates are based on various data sources, supplemented by additional analysis to bring the figures up to a baseline for 2017.

To develop future estimates of expected contributions for jobs and GVA under alternative scenarios, it was necessary to make assumptions about the differential rates of growth for the number of direct and indirect jobs attributable to the future growth of the cluster. This in turn was also linked to assumptions about the number of spin-out businesses, collaborations and other types of new business formation, as well as the average growth and survival rates existing (as of 2017) businesses located in the cluster. The specific assumptions made about these variables differs across each of the scenarios presented in the report.


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