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The North’s Life Sciences sector to gather at conference

The North’s innovative life science sector will be celebrated and showcased at an event in Newcastle tomorrow (3 July).

The BioFocus Conference, which is organised by Bionow and sponsored by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), will bring together businesses from the life sciences and pharmaceuticals sectors. It will also feature experts from the region’s universities and healthcare organisations and is designed to explore the latest developments in areas including ageing and clinical research. 

Bionow CEO Geoff Davison said: “The life sciences sector is one of the success stories of the North East and we have leading edge research happening here in the region aimed at tackling everything from cancer to ageing.

“BioFocus is a chance for the whole of the life science sector in the North East to connect and share knowledge on these important areas of the economy, research and policy as well as the factors affecting the sector today such as funding opportunities and Brexit.”

Richard Baker, from the North East LEP said: “Life sciences is an area where the region excels – we’re home to national centres of research excellence, a globally focused industrial cluster and world-leading health care organisations, and the sector is an integral part of our Strategic Economic Plan for the region which has led to a number of new projects being supported. 

“We’re proud to be supporting this event which will be an exciting day of discussion, ideas and innovation and to be working with the sector to address its opportunities and challenges.” 

The conference hosts, Bionow, is a not for profit membership organisation that supports life sciences across the North of England.

The event will include showcases from some of the region’s leading life sciences organisations including County Durham-based Stream Bio, who recently travelled on the Prime Minister’s trade mission to China and Newcastle’s NewChem Technologies which has grown from a spin-out from Newcastle University to become a well established company working with businesses across the world in the agrichem and pharma sectors. 

Keynote speakers will include Elaine Warburton from QuantuMDX and Newcastle University’s Professor of Pharmaceutics and Nanomedicine Moein Moghimi.

BioFocus takes place on Tuesday 3 July at the County Hotel in Newcastle. More details are available at www.bionow.co.uk.

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In conversation with Dr Geoff Davison. BioFocus – what’s it all about?

The North East LEP is proud to sponsor the BioFocus Conference, which takes place at the County Hotel in Newcastle on Tuesday 3 July 2018.

Welcome to the second instalment of my BioFocus Conference blog. The countdown to this year’s BioFocus Conference is underway, and the Bionow team look forward to welcoming you to our conference on the 3rd July, at the County Hotel in Newcastle.

We’re working closely with the Conference sponsor, the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, to bring together a Conference that is bespoke and relevant to the region, and several key themes have been identified which I will elaborate on in this blog.

One thing I know people enjoy at BioFocus is networking, and there are going to be several good networking opportunities at the Conference. For many of you, networking opportunities are almost on a par with the subject material, as they provide an opportunity to introduce, learn, collaborate and build connections. They are also a crucial part of the Conference for exhibitors.

Traditionally, BioFocus has had an industrial showcase session, giving companies from the region the opportunity to talk about their experience and journey and this is always an intriguing session as it allows others to hear interesting and relevant case studies about the challenges small businesses face, and more importantly how to overcome those challenges.  This session will continue as in previous years, and I will reveal further details of who is speaking as we get closer to the Conference.

We live in interesting times, and it is important that this year’s conference reflects this, therefore we’re going to explore this in a ‘state of the nation’ session. This will cover national level subjects, such as funding streams, opportunities and challenges, the need to relentlessly upskill and how the Life Science sector has a key role in the future of the region.

Another session is going to be on Pharma Manufacturing, which will feature prominent pharma manufacturers from the region, and will explore how the North East provides both a strong base to operate from, and an attractive environment for Pharma Manufacturing.

There is a challenge we all face, and one that is very important to our sector: ageing, the challenges of our ageing population and the opportunities that ongoing research present for the Life Sciences community.

The final key theme we will be exploring is an area that the region is particularly strong in, and that is clinical research and translation. In this session we will explore areas of research and how they are being utilised by business, universities and the NHS, and how this is happening very effectively here in the North East.

I hope you agree that this is an exciting and far reaching programme and represents great value for the attendee and exhibitor. There is a tremendous amount of interconnectivity throughout this agenda, with an interaction between the themes that make BioFocus a very current and unique event, and it is all happening here in the North East, which is why Bionow and the North East LEP are very excited about this event.  BioFocus provides an excellent opportunity to showcase the North East, the region’s vibrant Life Science sector, and how this powerful ecosystem continues to deliver new opportunities for renewal and development.

The countdown continues – we are now less than two months away from BioFocus, and my next blog will contain details of the speakers.

I look forward to meeting you on the 3rd July.

All the best


Dr Geoff Davison, Chief Executive of Bionow and organiser of the BioFocus Conference

Register here for the BioFocus Conference.

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In conversation with Dr Geoff Davison, Chief Executive of Bionow and organiser of the BioFocus Conference

The North East LEP is proud to sponsor the BioFocus Conference, which takes place at the County Hotel in Newcastle on Tuesday 3 July 2018.

Welcome to my BioFocus Conference blog. The countdown to this year’s BioFocus Conference begins now and the Bionow team look forward to welcoming you to your conference on the 3 July at the County Hotel in Newcastle.

Over the coming weeks I will be updating you on this year’s BioFocus Conference, as speakers are announced and the programme takes shape. What can you expect this year? As always, this is a Conference to showcase and promote the Life Sciences sector of the North East, an opportunity for you to make those connections that help move your business forward, listen to the expertise and experience of interesting speakers – all that will happen this year.

However, things are changing, there is the emerging Newcastle Laboratories which is now challenging St James’ Park on the City Centre’s Western Skyline. There is a rapidly developing and vibrant biotech cluster in the North East, increasing interaction between different parts of the life sciences sectors. NETPark, the universities, the NHS and other institutions all make this part of the country particularly exciting, and that is going to be reflected in the conference.

This dynamic environment brings me to North East Local Enterprise Partnership, who I thank for kindly sponsoring the event. The North East LEP is a key actor and plays a major role in the development of our sector in this region. This is reflected in the theme of promoting regional excellence. There are a lot of things that the North East do very well, we see it all around us in the great businesses, universities and research that this region is renowned for. Let’s tell people about this, BioFocus is an opportunity to champion this regional excellence.

Finally, the venue is fantastic. It is the County Hotel, directly opposite Central Station in Newcastle, so there is zero chance you will get lost on the way! We have hired an entire floor of the hotel, complete with two stylish, spacious conference rooms. Exhibition space is now available and the floor plan lends itself to lots of interaction between delegates, exhibitors and speakers. In short, it is a great venue for this event.

I’ll be back with further updates soon, and I look forward to meeting you on the 3 July.

All the best

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How to deliver North East economic growth through Life Sciences innovation

Dr Peter Simpson, N8 Research Partnership and Life Sciences lead on the North East LEP Innovation Board, and Geoff Davison, Bionow

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) Innovation Board members have been working on a new strategy to grow the North East’s Health and Life Sciences sector.

The North East LEP has identified Life Sciences as an important strategic area of economic activity in the region, and so the LEP Innovation Board’s experts are keen to develop an industry strategy and action plan to foster growth of the Health and Life Sciences sector in the North East. This represents a great opportunity to generate economic returns from more and better jobs if it is embraced by key partners.

The North East is already a great place to do Life Sciences, and a great place to live and work. But we feel there is so much more potential to unlock. Over recent months, we have sought your views on a range of possible priorities that we had scoped to help achieve this. For those of you who filled in our Life Sciences survey, a huge thank you – and congratulations to Julie Wright, Commercial Manager
at Data Trial Limited; winner of our Kindle Fire prize!

This feedback has been incredibly helpful in sharpening the vision and directing the prioritisation of actions. From analysing your feedback, the Life Sciences working group has agreed three key areas for prioritised LEP support and additional opportunities.

Areas we have identified as possible priority opportunities include:

• Fully leveraging nationally important assets and centres – within the region and beyond – to help local companies.
• Enhancing specialist funding opportunities – to ensure that innovative regional companies have access to the funding and support they need to thrive here
• Facilitating strong linkages to academia and other external innovation sources
o Creating the conditions to build a cluster economy in Health in Development & Ageing
o Enhanced Health Grand Challenges Programme

In order to support these priorities, support and grow the business base the team have also been working through ways for the LEP to ensure:
• A long term plan for provision of specialist health and life sciences company accommodation
• Sector-specific specialist skills sector plans
• Effective strategic leadership & coordination for the region
• Promoting the life sciences sector nationally and internationally
• Growth of our distinctive assets and niches
• Improving the Scientific, Technical and Leadership Skills base

The Life Sciences working group and the North East LEP Innovation Board are doing this work as volunteers – because our passion is for the growing the economy of the region together.

So thank you again for your input, and we look forward to sharing with you an update on the LEP response to our proposals shortly.