Harper Macleod's inaugural LiKE Conferences (Life sciences, Knowledge & Enterprise) were an overwhelming success when they were held in Glasgow and Inverness in September.
Ministers Alex Neil and John Swinney addressed the respective events, which provided a vital forum for everyone involved in the growing sector – from public sector and academia to start-ups, multinationals, investors and the growing supply chain around the industry.
Mr Swinney, Minister for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth, paid tribute to Harper Macleod taking the initiative to establish a dialogue to draw together contributions from both the public and private sectors to maximise the effectiveness and impact of all of these areas of activity.
Mr Neil, the Health Minister, provided the keynote address at LiKE Glasgow on 3 September. He said: "The life sciences is like no other growth sector. Its contribution to Scotland is two-fold, delivering on both our health and wealth agendas. Scotland is recognised as an international leader for health innovations because of its integrated health service, world-class informatics and outstanding universities and research capabilities - all of which is supported by a strong and diverse life sciences industry."
Mr Swinney delivered the main speech at LiKE Inverness on 30 September, and called on everyone involved in the sector to capitalise on Scotland's "competitive advantage".
He said: "By capitalising on the significant expertise already established in the north of Scotland and building upon the Enterprise Areas at Inverness Campus and Forres Enterprise Park, the Inverness-Moray corridor has evolved and is experiencing growing opportunities in digital healthcare, medical devices and diagnostics.
"The critical mass of activity along the A96 Inverness-Moray corridor is emerging as one of the world's first true digital healthcare clusters comprising 40 organisations including companies, non-government organisations, health boards and academia. It is essential that we build upon our competitive advantage in these areas if Scotland is to maintain its global reputation for cutting edge research and innovative business in the life sciences."
Harper Macleod Partner Jamie Watt, who heads the Healthcare & Life Sciences team, was delighted with the result of the conferences, which attracted speakers and delegates from every part of Scotland's wide life sciences community.
He said: "With its depth in attendees from all those involved in life sciences, the events highlighted both the crucial economic importance of, and community spirit of, the sector. With its focus on business and enterprise, no attendee left without taking away something which would help their business grow, whether it be, for example, practical guidance on how better to gain investment or go global, or potential new customer contacts."
Other speakers at the events included Jonathan Nash of Lifescan Scotland, Scotland's biggest life sciences employer, Professor Ian Megson, Head of Health Research at the University of the Highland's and Islands, Professor Sir Jim McDonald of the University of Strathclyde and Dr Dave Tudor of GlaxoSmithKline.
Delegates at both events also took part in group break out sessions on issues including how to take technology to treatment, how to go global and how to stimulate investment and growth.
The panels featured representative from companies and organisations including AccuNostics, Interface, Metis Partners, Jumpstart, Taragenyx and Wideblue.
The events were supported by SCDI, Entrepreneurial Spark, Chiene + Tait & Murgitroyd and Company.