Life sciences sector

4 min read

Life Sciences

This is the latest weekly update from Santander’s life sciences team on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting our clients and the sector as a whole.

Life sciences

Industry bodies playing crucial role

Santander is working closely with customers and partners from across life sciences to help them overcome the current challenges as well as to identify new opportunities.

One of these partners is Association of British HealthTech Industries (ABHI), which has been particularly active in keeping its members abreast of the challenges facing the sector. The organisation has drawn up a communication outlining how firms in the sector can apply for coronavirus testing for their own staff now that tests have been rolled out beyond frontline NHS staff to other critical workers.

ABHI is also now providing twice-weekly call updates on the supply of PPE and other critical products, with the aim of improving the allocation of much-needed resources. For more information, click here. Additionally, ABHI is running a series of webinars: for details of past sessions and upcoming events, click here.

As part of the ABHI’s case study series, Baxter Healthcare’s Andy Goldney has set out some of the challenges facing his firm. He says that demand for some products has doubled or even trebled in the past few weeks, while demand for other theatre-based products have dropped dramatically as the number of elective procedures carried out is scaled back. 

Finally, it looks possible that, post-crisis, there could be a substantial move towards digital health and tele-medicine to relieve pressure on primary care departments such as GPs’ surgeries and hospital A&E departments. Such a trend could create significant opportunities for businesses in the UK, where there is a high level of expertise in this area.


Manufacturing sector news

Industry body MakeUK has been working with colleagues in Europe, sharing intelligence on how lockdown policies around the continent have affected the manufacturing sector. The organisation will monitor closely the progress in countries such as Denmark and Austria which have begun to lift restrictions.

Also last week, MakeUK’s CEO Stephen Phipson joined Santander’s Head of Manufacturing Paul Brooks on a podcast to share his thoughts on the current challenges facing the sector. Click here to listen again.

Stephen Phipson welcomed the government’s confirmation that the manufacturing sector should remain open during the lockdown period, but stressed that further state support was likely to be necessary over the weeks and months ahead.

The first hospital ventilator designed specifically for coronavirus patients has gone into production at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in north Wales. Created by the VentilatorChallenge UK consortium, initially 5,000 ventilators – based on a model made by the Oxfordshire company Penlon – will be made. Staff from Airbus and Siemens have built assembly lines at the centre, while design skills have been supplied by firms from across the country.

The Chairman of one of India’s largest conglomerates has said that global manufacturers may need to reassess their supply chains in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Anand Mahindra of the Mahindra Group said: ‘What people thought was a global supply chain was a Chinese supply chain,’ with the disruption caused by the pandemic only serving to highlight the importance of Chinese firms as a provider of inputs to factories across Asia and around the world. As a result, businesses are likely to move away from single-sourcing and build out their choice of suppliers, even if this results in higher costs and some loss of efficiency.

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