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The top 10 countries for life science business growth

It is well-known that Europe is a fast-growing region for both established and emerging markets. This is especially true for life sciences.

However, we shouldn’t only be looking at Europe when it comes to growing life science businesses in 2021/2022. Africa and the Middle East are seeing some interesting life sciences innovations. Today, we’ll be looking at the top 10 countries in EMEA for life science business growth. Of these countries, eight are in Europe, one is in Africa, and one is in the Middle East.

Companies in this sector looking to flourish internationally investing in life sciences in EMEA because of its highly-rated research institutions and large population of life science talent. Here is what we found.


The UK holds the top position in Europe for life sciences as the country has the highest rates of both private and public investment in the sector. While this steady stream of funding may be disrupted by Brexit, it is still in the top position for life sciences, hosting two of the top ten universities for research in the world. The UK has skilled life science professionals and a reputation for and history of scientific excellence. In addition to this, you’ll find that their tax environment is beneficial to research and development.

When it comes to economic stability, the latest technology, location, and a skilled workforce – Germany holds the second-most position in Europe. The German life science market is constantly growing and evolving. It’s also known for being a hotspot for research and development in pharmaceuticals, health sciences, and medical tech, with a plethora of life science research institutes in Germany.

American life science businesses are already recognising Switzerland as being a great place to target when making the move into Europe. The country is known for its medical industry, so it’s not difficult to see why it is a great place to grow life science companies and organisations. Switzerland has top universities, a history of innovation in research and development, and has simpler approval processes than other countries.

The European Medicines Agency is based in Amsterdam, already putting the Netherlands on the map for life sciences. Academically, the Netherlands has high standards and therefore life science professionals are well educated and incredibly skilled. Oncology, immunology, neuroscience, and cardiovascular disciplines receive a lot of focus.

There are many high-growth startups focused on healthcare in France, as there is a culture of investment and innovation in the country. Clinical development has received a lot of attention and the biotech sector has grown steadily in the past few years. There is quite a bit of funding from the French government in research and development, which means that there are many opportunities for investors in the country, especially where MedTech and medicine are involved.

Manufacturing, design, and innovation are areas of strength for Italy. This can easily translate into the life sciences industry, especially with MedTech and clinical research and trials. Italy is highly competitive in life science, especially in their funding for research and development. With its connections to Northern Africa, the Middle East, and, of course, Europe, life science companies in Italy have a strategic benefit.

Spain has a thriving life science market, thanks to its top-rated research departments, medical institutions, pharma businesses, and biotech high-growth start-ups. The framework for investments in the area is beneficial to businesses in the sector and research and development is strong. Tax incentives in Spain are also a huge drawcard for investment in the country.

Due to its geographical location, Belgium is a good place to start if you’re wanting to conduct business in Europe. The Belgian government offers strong support and the healthy economy makes it a stronghold for the life sciences sector. Pharma companies are drawn to the country because of the research and development opportunities and quick processes involved in clinical trials. Life science jobs in Belgium are filled by some of the top European talent.

Middle East

Saudi Arabia
Nature Index Tables 2020 listed Saudi Arabia in the top 50 countries worldwide for research. The 29th place on the list was hard-earned, with Saudi Arabia claiming a top spot in the region for the third year in a row. If your aim is to grow your life science business through research, then this is the top country in the Middle East to do so. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is also known as a top life science institute in the region.


South Africa
There is a large pool of life science talent in Africa and South Africa is working its way towards a world-class life science industry. As one of the strongest African economies and a country with many top-rated universities and institutions, many people from all over Africa are considering careers in life science in South Africa. It’s no wonder that South Africa is the top place in Africa to grow your life science business. Despite the many issues the country faces, it is still a huge draw for foreign investment.