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Last Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
Move to better use bio-sciences
Bio-science in Scotland is outgrowing the industry in Europe
Measures to ensure the health service works more closely with life sciences companies have been outlined.

Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen said he was aware of increasing frustration in the sector to get the NHS to take up its products.

Dundee is at the centre of life sciences in Scotland, a sector which employs an estimated 30,000 people.

Mr Stephen has now asked bio-science organisations on how relations with the public sector can be improved.

His comments came as he attended a major conference in Dundee which has brought public and private sector organisations in the industry together.

New proposals

Mr Stephen said the strength of Scotland's life science sector, which aims to transform the latest scientific discoveries into new medical treatments, was recognised worldwide.

But he added: "I am conscious of an increasing frustration within the sector to get their products taken up by the public sector.

Dundee is one of the best places to be that we know of in Europe and worldwide
David Dodd
President, Serologicals Corporation

"It is particularly frustrating for them if they find that they can easily do business overseas but can't get a foothold in their home market."

Mr Stephen has now asked the industry to bring forward proposals on how more of their products can be used in the NHS.

Ministers will discuss how to take them forward later in the year.

Scotland's life sciences industry is growing at an average rate of 28%, compared with a 15% growth rate in the rest of Europe.

In Dundee, there are about 3,800 people employed in the sector, which makes up 15% of the local economy.

David Dodd, president of Atlanta-based Serologicals, a global bio-science company, said his corporation now employed more than a fifth of its staff in Scotland.

Economic growth

He said: "The fastest growing sector of our business is driven from Dundee, because of innovation and training.

"Dundee is one of the best places to be that we know of in Europe and worldwide."

Shona Cormack, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise Tayside, said growth in the sector was hugely important to Dundee's economic future.

She added: "Fuelling that growth is the strength of the university base, international world-class scientists and also the company base and spin-out companies from the universities, listed companies and inward investors."

The city's economic development convener Joe Morrow added that the expansion was creating jobs beyond the science industry.

"When we develop new industries like life sciences, that wealths-up the whole city," he said.

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