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Life sciences around the world: A snapshot

Ben Alger our consultant managing the role
Posted by Ben Alger
Published on 19 December 2017

The life sciences sector is growing. With pharmaceutical sales alone totalling $1,038bn worldwide, and trillions of dollars being invested into projects tackling everything from cancer to dementia, it’s clear that the demand for medical and technological products has never been higher. With a growing global population, an increased awareness of the importance of healthcare and a constant need for clinical innovation, the time is ripe for companies in life sciences to expand their operations and invest in more projects.

As a result, operations in life sciences are increasing throughout the world. Although EU countries continue to experience growth thanks to their strong trade links, hassle free cross-border travel and heavy investment, other locations such as India are also seeing a surge in popularity. International companies are rushing to make the most of the growing pharmaceuticals industry there, which is estimated to be worth around $50bn in sales by 2020.

But where else is booming in the world of life sciences?

The Netherlands

The Netherlands’ position in the centre of Europe and reputation as an innovative, progressive company has made it home to more than 2,500 life sciences and research organisations from across the world. As a result, it’s one of the most concentrated regions for life sciences globally, and ranks eighth worldwide for the number of life sciences and health patents issued every year. With a pipeline of talented students from its 12 research universities, and a pro-business climate to match, the Netherlands has been a popular place for investment for years.

With €2bn invested annually into the Netherland’s life sciences R&D and big-name businesses such as Royal Dutch Shell and Unilever setting up headquarters in the nation, it’s clear that the Netherlands is paving the way for life sciences growth. For more on living and working in this beautiful part of the world, see our blog here.


India’s expanding pharmaceuticals market has made it an area of interest for companies in life sciences worldwide. With an economy judged to be the fourth fastest growing in the world, a large labour force and a strong background in IT which has seen it become a major offshore services business provider, India’s strengths serve it well in areas like research and development and biotech- and indeed, it ranks amongst the global leaders in providing quality generics worldwide.

India is currently the third largest pharmaceuticals market in the world in terms of volume, and the thirteenth-largest in terms of value. Combined with the rise of India’s middle class, with a rapidly increasing purchasing power, India is a lucrative market as well as a place for companies to base their operations. Many major organisations have already chosen to base their operations there; with India’s commitment to improving its service and expanding its offering to others, expect many other companies to follow suit and the country’s pharmaceuticals market to grow rapidly over the course of next year. We’re seeing significant growth in the numbers of roles available in this area, with more opportunities expected.


Ireland’s medical device eco-system makes it ideal for small and international businesses to flourish respectively. With a growing market and increasing recognition of its importance in business, Ireland’s own life sciences sector exports more than €45 billion annually and employs more than 50,000 people directly. Ireland’s strength lies in its ties to both the English-speaking and EU market: with close ties to the UK, and the ability to use ‘passporting’, allowing for the free exchange of goods and services across the EU, Ireland is the ideal location for Western companies looking to gain a foothold in Europe.

Internationally recognised as a centre for life sciences and medical devices - more than 50% of the Medtech companies in Ireland have dedicated R&D facilities - Ireland’s current investment drive looks to attract more international companies over the coming months. A large proportion of our activity is focused on and there is plenty of growth on the horizon.

The market is growing

Lower-income countries are making the most of their growing economies and developing their life sciences capabilities, driving growth and increasing health care expenditure through 2020. In addition to established markets in Europe and America, countries like India are now becoming a more popular destination for international firms, providing more opportunities for skilled workers. At Quanta, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the changing market, so we can continue delivering a cutting-edge service to clients and contractors alike. Contact us here to find out more about how we can help.