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Celebrating North East Health, Life Science and Pharmaceuticals

I’m pleased to be able to unveil the North East LEP’s new brochure ‘Excelling in Life Sciences’, which has been developed with the North East Health and Life Sciences Working Group, led by new Chair Professor Michael Whitaker, to demonstrate the North East’s wide-ranging asset base in this key part of the economy, both nationally and regionally.

Health and Life Sciences are highlighted in the North East Strategic Economic Plan as one of four key areas of opportunity for the region – areas of the economy which can help drive high productivity and better jobs.

As Professor John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford and Sponsor of the Government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy says, “The North East has a diverse and vibrant clustering of life sciences, manufacturing and health services….and …. the work that is being done in the North East can support more growth in the region and make a strong contribution to a wider UK initiative to promote research collaboration, partnership and investment globally as part of the Government’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy”.

The new brochure goes into detail of three areas of Health and Life Sciences where the North East has particular strengths:

  • A thriving life science community with world leading health research and outstanding and innovative NHS healthcare organisations, a vibrant SME base including companies working in precision medicine and medical technologies, testing and clinical trials and centres of excellence in precision medicine, digital health and advanced therapies.
  • An established, globally focused and successful pharmaceuticals manufacturing sector including 15 pharmaceutical manufacturers with deep sector knowledge, diverse business models and a global outlook including very strong export performance and international investment from across the world.
  • An internationally recognised specialism in ageing and age-related diseases: Newcastle is a globally recognised hub for the development of medical science and social research in response to the challenges and opportunities of ageing populations.

This is supported by a vibrant and well networked eco-system including business networks and cluster bodies, key sites and facilities dedicated to the development of health and life sciences, a strong education offer in both health and associated sciences as well as links directly to the UK Catapult Network, through the Centre for Process Innovation which operates a number of noted innovation facilities in the region.

The last year has seen some new additions to this ecosystem with the opening of the National Innovation Centre for Ageing at the Helix in Newcastle, and the National Formulation Centre at NetPark in Sedgefield. Businesses in the region also strongly welcomed the confirmation of the new North East Fund programmes which offer a range of new sources of business finance.

There are other key initiatives in the future pipeline including the new Northern Alliance Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre awarded to Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Trust this spring, the North East LEP funded Centre for Innovation in Health Care Photonics and a new Medical School at Sunderland University – all adding support to the future momentum of the region in this key sector.

And these come at a time when the Government is seeking to strengthen this sector through key programmes within the Industrial Strategy including the Life Sciences sector deal and Grand Challenges on ageing and data, both opportunities for the region.

Read more in our Excelling in Life Sciences brochure.

Richard Baker, Head of Strategy and Policy, North East LEP.