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‘The goal is to continue to build an internationally competitive and collaborative sector’


Sharon McKendry, Head, Scottish Development International shares details about the advantages offered to Indian lifesciences players investing in Scotland, SDI’s measures to make the business environment more conducive and more, in an interaction with Viveka Roychowdhury

Britain is planning to exit the EU? Will Scotland once again seek a referendum to be independent of the UK if this happens? How will this impact Scotland as a destination for the global business community?

20160430ep04The EU referendum represents an important and historical decision for the British public. But, regardless of the outcome, Scottish Enterprise (SE) and Scottish Development International (SDI) will continue to deliver with confidence, ready to make the most of the many opportunities that lie ahead for Scotland and its businesses, in the EU and globally. It is not appropriate to speculate on the possibility of a future referendum on Scottish independence based on this decision.

What are the components of the integrated package of support offered to life sciences companies who want to base their business out of Scotland?

The support for companies starts with that personal touch and interaction where we work closely with companies to understand their needs and where Scotland can help. SDI can make introductions to academics, clinicians, supply chain companies and potential collaborators. We can help with initial touch down space and we keep connected every step of the way. That’s really one of Scotland’s strengths. We are a well-connected and collaborative country. We have a thriving life sciences community with a number of initiatives and projects where  the academia, industry and our single, integrated national health service collaborate for advancing science and technology.

We work as a wider team to bring in the relevant expertise to ensure that we can provide the appropriate package of support which includes financial support packages through regional selective assistance, research and development grants or training support. Add to that the on-going support, once you are here, through dedicated account management, innovation and international specialist support as well as reviews through our Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service for those companies manufacturing in Scotland. The support doesn’t end once you set up here, but that’s where some of the most valuable support takes place. It can also link you to the wider ecosystem whether it be looking at conducting trials, accessing skilled workers or collaborating across institutions, companies or geographical borders.

Any specific success stories involving Indian lifesciences players that you’d like to highlight as learnings for both SE, SDI and their peers in India?

We have companies from India investing in Scotland and also Scottish companies who are experiencing success in the Indian market. One such company who choose to locate in Scotland is the innovative life sciences company Piramal Healthcare which employs around 140 people at their operations in Grangemouth. In November last year, they announced their plan to invest £2 million for expanding their manufacturing facility and creating 20 new high value jobs in the area. The expansion was supported by £200,000 of Regional Selective Assistance. Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon opened their new facility last year.

On the other hand, Omega Diagnostics, a Scottish company that has been operating in India since 1992, inaugurated their first greenfield manufacturing facility at the International Biotech Park, Pune in November last year. With an investment of $0.9 million, the company estimates that it could be employing up to 50 people, including high quality positions in production management and technical/ quality control roles over the next 12 months.

With the Indian healthcare market growing rapidly over the recent years, the move to establish a manufacturing base in India is a logical and exciting step forward for the Omega Diagnostics Group. The company sees potential for major growth, not just in the Indian domestic market, but also to export products produced in Pune to their global distribution network which covers over 100 countries.

Is there a special fund for Indian/ Asian companies?

There isn’t a fund that’s specific to any particular geography. Regional Selective Assistance is open to any company that wants to locate and grow in Scotland but the level of assistance is specific to particular Scottish locations and the size and scale of business in Scotland itself. There are a range of incentives that are available to support businesses in the shorter term and to help them grow and succeed in a medium to longer term.

What are the goals of Scotland on the life sciences sector to 2020?

As previously announced, the goal is to continue to build an internationally competitive and collaborative sector that continues to be at the cutting edge of developing new and innovative technologies to solve some of our global healthcare challenges. The ambition is to significantly grow the economic impact of the sector and double the turnover generated by 2020. It would be done by anchoring, building and attracting life science companies, talent and investment.

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