Biotechnology trends to watch

The London Biotech Show which took place earlier this month served as a good reminder of the inherent strengths of the UK as a global biotechnology hub. The two days of exhibition, panel sessions, keynote presentations and networking highlighted the strong fundamentals of UK biotech, from our world-class universities and scientific research base to a supportive government funding ecosystem. 

Here, we explore four of the key trends to watch in the sector that shone through at the conference. 

Battle for start-up funding continues

We noted at the end of 2023 that the UK’s biotech sector, while remaining well ahead of Europe, was looking at a mixed picture for funding. The Show’s startup showcase neatly encapsulated the plethora of exciting startups across a range of biotech disciplines looking to raise funding in the year ahead.  

As a whole, UK biotechs have struggled to make the transition from discovery through to commercial products, an issue that was touched on by Rebecca Todd, partner at Longwall Ventures, who highlighted the difficulty for companies transitioning from early financing to the late seed stage. 

Against this backdrop, it’s crucial for biotechs to have a clearly expressed, coherent vision and mission. Why does the company exist? What’s the story and the fundamental investment proposition being put to potential investors? Clear messaging that tells a human story is a must for biotechs at whichever stage of their journey they are at. 


No industry is able to ignore the broader societal and corporate focus on sustainability, and biotech is no exception. 

There’s no escaping that the pharma industry is far from green. Worldwide the sector is responsible for more carbon emissions on a ton per revenue basis than the automotive industry (48.55 tons per $million vs 31.4 tons per $million). 

From developing pipelines of green products and the use of sustainable manufacturing processes to setting clear net zero targets, it was clear from discussion at the Biotech Show that sustainability will continue to be an important item on the biotech agenda in the months and years ahead. Any businesses operating in the sector will need to have a clear and convincing sustainability story to tell. 

Personalised medicine

Personalised medicine, which seeks to maximise the efficacy of treatments and reduce adverse side effects by tailoring approaches to our individual biology, is gaining increasing momentum both in the UK and globally. The personalized medicine market was worth around $540 billion last year and is projected to reach $870 billion by 2031. 

But it was acknowledged at the Show that, on the whole, the idea of personalised medicine is currently overpromising and underdelivering. 

Perhaps the biggest challenge to the growth of personalised medicine comes from our healthcare system, which is struggling to cope under the pressures its already faces and needs to integrate sophisticated diagnostics and electronic records to support more personalised approaches. Funding and resistance to large scale collection and sharing clinical data also pose challenges. 

The view emerging from the Show is that the future of personalized medicine lies in data democratisation, improved accessibility and the ability to deliver better, cheaper and faster. Robust communications strategies that effectively reach the diverse range of stakeholders impacted by these issues, from the NHS to the general public, will deliver real value for biotechs. 


AI is increasingly touching every sector of our economy and biotech is no different. The most exciting area where we’re likely to see AI have the greatest impact is in drug discovery and development. 

Currently, drug discovery is a hugely lengthy and expensive process, taking years and costing millions. In 2023 alone the world’s top 20 pharma companies collectively spent $145 billion on R&D. The use of AI and machine learning in drug discovery is looking to change that. 

AI drug discovery is potentially a game changer for the sector, promising the potential of cheaper drugs that can be brought to market more quickly through deploying machine learning across the drug discovery and development funnel, from target identification and validation to accelerating clinical trials and enhancing drug formulation among  

As with other sectors, access to the right skilled talent is a roadblock for businesses looking to leverage the AI revolution, and the right PR strategy certainly has a role to play as an important ingredient within business’ broader recruitment strategy. 

Get in touch if you’re interested in finding out more about how we could support your biotech business.

Get in touch with the team