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  • Lloyd Price

Scotland's Pioneering Spirit: A Legacy of Medical and Healthcare Innovation



Exec Summary:


Scotland has emerged as a global leader in the field of digital health and care, driven by a combination of factors:


  • A strong foundation in medical innovation: Scotland boasts a rich history of medical breakthroughs, from the world's first cloned sheep (Dolly) to pioneering research in stem cell therapy. This spirit of innovation extends to the digital health sector, with Scottish institutions and companies actively developing and implementing cutting-edge technologies.

  • A commitment to improving healthcare: The Scottish Government has made digital health a key priority, investing heavily in infrastructure, research, and development. This commitment has resulted in a national digital health strategy and the creation of the Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre (DHI), which supports collaboration and innovation in the sector.

  • A unique testing ground: Scotland's diverse geography and population demographics provide a unique testing ground for digital health solutions. From the urban challenges of Glasgow to the remote healthcare needs of the Scottish Highlands and Islands, Scotland offers a variety of settings to test and refine new technologies.

  • A focus on global collaboration: Scotland actively seeks to collaborate with other countries and organizations on digital health initiatives. This includes participation in international research projects, sharing best practices, and exporting Scottish-developed digital health solutions.

Here are some examples of Scotland's global reach in digital health and care:


  • NHS Scotland's national digital health record: This record stores patient information electronically, making it accessible to healthcare professionals across the country. This has improved patient care and reduced duplication of services.

  • The Farr Institute: This research institute is a world leader in using data to improve healthcare. It has developed a number of innovative tools and resources that are being used by healthcare systems around the world.

  • The Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre (DHI): The DHI supports the development and adoption of digital health solutions in Scotland. It has also established partnerships with organizations in other countries to share knowledge and expertise.

  • Scottish companies: A number of Scottish companies are developing and exporting innovative digital health solutions. These companies are making a significant contribution to the global digital health market.

Overall, Scotland's global reach in digital health and care is a testament to its commitment to innovation, collaboration, and improving healthcare for all. As the digital health sector continues to grow, Scotland is well-positioned to play a leading role in shaping the future of healthcare.

Corporate Development for Healthcare Technology companies in EMEA


Healthcare Technology Thought Leadership from Nelson Advisors – Market Insights, Analysis & Predictions. Visit https://www.healthcare.digital 


HealthTech Corporate Development - Buy Side, Sell Side, Growth & Strategy services for Founders, Owners and Investors. Email lloyd@nelsonadvisors.co.uk  


HealthTech M&A Newsletter from Nelson Advisors - HealthTech, Health IT, Digital Health Insights and Analysis. Subscribe Today! https://lnkd.in/e5hTp_xb 


HealthTech Corporate Development and M&A - Buy Side, Sell Side, Growth & Strategy services for companies in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Visit www.nelsonadvisors.co.uk  



Scotland's history of medical and healthcare innovation


For more than 200 years, Scotland’s scientific discoveries have served as critical stepping stones for the advancement of modern medicine. Scotland has been at the forefront of pioneering medical innovations such as:


  • 1760 - the discovery of quinine as cure for malaria

  • 1847 - chloroform used in anaesthesia

  • 1853 - the first hypodermic syringe

  • 1928 - the discovery of penicillin

  • 1996 - Dolly - the world's first cloned sheep

  • 2004 - the world's first hand-held video-enabled laryngoscope

  • 2006 - i-Limb the world's first multi-articulating prosthetic hand

  • 2014 - development of SERS meningitis test

  • 2015 - pioneering 3D printing of stem cells


In Scotland, you’ll find a rich talent pool featuring almost 250,000 health staff and 160,000 social care staff, in addition to:


  • Around 74,000 people currently working in digital technology

  • More than 7000 people working within the digital health and care technology companies

  • An industry supplemented annually by around 94,000 graduates and a pipeline of nearly 16,000 graduates with digital health expertise


Scotland: connected for health and business

Scotland’s network of business incubators and science parks help make Scotland one of the most cost-effective manufacturing locations in Europe.


Scotland offers a broad and flexible range of commercial property, incubation and development options. There’s the renowned Edinburgh BioQuarter and facilities including Dundee Medipark, BioCity and the Glasgow Clinical Innovation Zone which is next to one of the largest acute hospitals in Europe. Or consider a move to the 100-acre Enterprise Park in the Highlands.

Exciting developments happening right now across Scotland, include the new £56 million Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, the £65 million National Manufacturing Institute Scotland in Renfrewshire and a new Precision Medicine Living Lab in Glasgow. Plus, a £40 million BioHub in Aberdeen and a £25 million investment to grow the Tayside Biomedical Cluster.


Scotland is also home to over 300 NHS hospitals, plus several private hospitals and four major Scottish university hospitals ready to work with you.




Scotland's top ten tech start-ups - HealthTech related companies


Investment into the Scottish healthtech market in 2022 reached a record high of £705 million, surpassing the previous record of £626 million set in 2021. This represents a year-on-year increase of 12%.


The majority of investment was into early-stage companies, with seed and Series A funding rounds accounting for 52% of the total. However, there was also a significant increase in investment into later-stage companies, with Series B and C rounds accounting for 37% of the total.


The top three sectors for investment were:


  1. Digital health (£244 million)

  2. Therapeutics (£225 million)

  3. Medtech (£136 million)

Some of the notable deals in 2022 included:


  • Amphista Therapeutics (£38 million)

  • Resolution Therapeutics (£34 million)

  • ODx (£7.6 million)

  • Changingday (£5 million)

  • Well-Safe Solutions (£50 million)

  • TauRx Pharmaceuticals (£78 million)


The record investment into the Scottish healthtech market in 2022 is a testament to the strength of the sector and the growing recognition of the potential of Scottish healthtech companies to develop innovative solutions to some of the world's biggest healthcare challenges.

It is also worth noting that Scotland's healthtech ecosystem is well-supported by a number of government and industry initiatives, such as the Scottish National Health Service (NHS) Scotland Health Innovation Hub and the Life Sciences Scotland industry body. These initiatives are helping to create a supportive environment for healthtech companies to thrive.


"At the top is Glasgow-based Amphista Therapeutics, which raised $50m in 2022. The biotech company is a spin-out of the University of Dundee and develops targeted protein degradation medicines, which have the potential to treat serious diseases that currently have limited treatments.


Potential treatment areas for the company's small molecule degrading therapeutics include immunology, oncology and central nervous system disorders. In oncology, Amphista’s therapies have shown evidence of being able to slow or stop tumour growth.


Just behind in second place with a value of $44m raised in 2022 is Resolution Therapeutics, which specialises in developing macrophage cell therapies to treat chronic liver disease.


Resolution Therapeutics is a spin-out of the University of Edinburgh. The company is an example of how Scotland’s healthtech ecosystem and support network enable collaborations in projects, which can develop into start-ups or spin-outs that turn potential medical treatments into a reality.


Resolution Therapeutics is the result of a partnership between Edinburgh’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine and the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, with backing from Syncona Investment Management. The startup is based at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Campus in the Centre for Regenerative Medicine.


The majority of the top ten start-ups and spin-outs are based in and around Edinburgh and Glasgow. Yet outside of Scotland’s two biggest cities, Inverness-based ODx manufactures innovative urine testing solutions that rapidly identify antibiotic susceptibility.


The company raised $10m in 2022. ODx is based at a purpose-built life sciences facility at the Inverness Campus, which is an enterprise area established by the Scottish Government and shared with other start-ups and spin-outs in the pharma and healthcare sector that could well break into this top ten list in future."




Future of Scottish HealthTech:


The future of the Scottish healthtech market is bright. The sector is already growing rapidly, and there are a number of factors that are likely to drive further growth in the coming years.


  • Venture Capital Investment in Scotland: Scotland bucked international trends in 2022 after a record-breaking £705m in venture capital was invested in scale-up companies. The nation’s level of VC support increased by 12 per cent year-on-year, against an overall 30 per cent decline in volumes across the UK, according to accountancy giant KPMG. (1)

  • Pioneering healthcare: Scotland has a long history of pioneering healthcare. The country was one of the first in the UK to scrap prescription fees, and it is also leading the way in areas such as digital health and artificial intelligence. This pioneering spirit is likely to continue to drive innovation in the healthtech sector.

  • Collaboration: There is a strong culture of collaboration between healthtech companies, universities, and the NHS in Scotland. This collaboration is helping to accelerate the development and adoption of new health technologies.

  • Talent: Scotland has a well-educated workforce with a strong track record in science and technology. This talent pool is a major asset for the healthtech sector.


These factors suggest that the Scottish healthtech market is well-positioned for continued growth in the coming years. Some of the specific areas where growth is likely to be seen include:


  • Digital health: Digital health technologies, such as remote monitoring and virtual care, are already being used in Scotland to improve patient care. This trend is likely to continue, as digital health technologies become more affordable and accessible.

  • Artificial intelligence: Artificial intelligence is being used in a variety of ways in healthcare, such as to develop new diagnostic tools and to improve the efficiency of clinical workflows. The use of AI in healthcare is likely to grow in the coming years.

  • Precision medicine: Precision medicine is the use of genetic and other data to tailor treatments to individual patients. This is a rapidly developing field, and Scotland is well-positioned to be a leader in precision medicine.

The future of the Scottish healthtech market is bright. With strong investment, a pioneering spirit, and a well-educated workforce, Scotland is well-positioned to become a potential European leader in HealthTech.

Corporate Development for Healthcare Technology companies in EMEA


Healthcare Technology Thought Leadership from Nelson Advisors – Market Insights, Analysis & Predictions. Visit https://www.healthcare.digital 


HealthTech Corporate Development - Buy Side, Sell Side, Growth & Strategy services for Founders, Owners and Investors. Email lloyd@nelsonadvisors.co.uk  


HealthTech M&A Newsletter from Nelson Advisors - HealthTech, Health IT, Digital Health Insights and Analysis. Subscribe Today! https://lnkd.in/e5hTp_xb 


HealthTech Corporate Development and M&A - Buy Side, Sell Side, Growth & Strategy services for companies in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Visit www.nelsonadvisors.co.uk  






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