A delegation from the North of England is heading home today from the world’s largest biotech conference in California, vowing to work together again to promote the region.
The BIO International Convention (BIO) attracted over 15,000 biotechnology and pharma leaders. The event, held in San Francisco, covered a wide spectrum of life science and application areas including drug discovery.
The Northern Powerhouse delegation staged a week-long series of events to showcase the region to international businesses.
The line-up included the Alderley Park bio campus; Manchester Science Partnerships; Redx Pharma Plc; The Northern Health Science Alliance Ltd (NHSA); the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre; and research specialists Aptus Clinical.
Dr Hakim Yadi, chief executive of the NHSA, said that the collaborative spirit in the North is a powerful marketing asset in its own right: “England is one of the most economically unbalanced countries in Europe and we do need to do something about it. The North of England has phenomenal amount of expertise in life sciences and healthcare. I’ve been working in the North for the last three years and have never seen this level of commitment [anywhere else]. There is a collaborative spirit here. People are prepared to put aside their geographical differences for the greater good.”
Norman Molyneux, chief executive of the Manchester-based corporate finance house Acceleris, which joined the delegation, said: “The Northern Powerhouse has given belief back to the region. There is the capital here to finance the growth. My organisation put £38 million into sector in the last year and two of the five biotech IPOs in the last 12 months were Northern companies. The world is a big place and we understand that the UK has to market itself as a whole but the delegation has set about making sure the North is on the biotech agenda.”
Neil Murray, chief executive of Redx Pharma Plc, the drug development company based at Alderley Park, Cheshire, said: “A global gathering like BIO puts the challenge we face in context. The UK is too small geographically for us to become obsessed with North v. South – not least because the distances involved don’t compare to the USA, for example. But more needs to be done to build the North’s offering into the UK Plc story. There has been a deficit here and we have set about addressing it directly. I believe many of the organisations involved in this week will be keen to continue to work together.”
Chris Doherty, site director of the Alderley Park, stressed the results the region can produce. “In our industry it’s ultimately about drugs getting to market and improving patient outcomes. The North has been very successful in this respect. Some 20 drugs have gone to market from Alderley Park, a track record which compares favourably with anywhere else in the UK and further afield. It’s about making sure that legacy continues.”
Steve Bates, chief executive of the BioIndustry Association, said: “BIO has been a perfect location to promote the UK’s globally competitive fiscal, tax and life science environment. The UK is a great place to partner with, invest in, and work. It’s good to see the north of England prominently promote its unique strengths this year to ensure it is firmly on the global life science map.”
The delegation was backed by Bionow, the North of England industry group for life sciences, KPMG and the marketing agency Influential.
Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) is a Manchester based public-private partnership and the UK’s largest science and technology park operator. MSP owns and operates 3m sq ft of office and laboratory space on its three main campuses – central Manchester, Citylabs 1.0 and Alderley Park.
We provide the right environments for innovation to flourish – supporting the growth of companies in the biomedical, ICT, industrial technologies, and digital/creative sectors, ranging in size from start-ups to European HQs and international centres of R&D excellence.
Our network of connections between innovators, scientists, investors and entrepreneurs brings businesses and people together to transform ideas into commercial reality.
MSP’s shareholders are Bruntwood Ltd, The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Manchester, Cheshire East and Salford City Councils.
About the NHSA
The Northern Health Science Alliance Ltd (NHSA) is a partnership established by the leading Universities and NHS Hospital Trusts in the North of England to improve the health and wealth of the region by creating an internationally recognised life science and healthcare system. The NHSA links eight universities and eight NHS Teaching Trusts with the newly formed Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs). Together the Alliance and the four Northern AHSNs cover a patient population of over 15 million people. The NHSA acts as a single portal bringing together research, health science innovation and commercialisation to provide benefits for researchers, universities. www.thenhsa.co.uk
About Redx Pharma Plc
Redx is focused on the discovery and development of proprietary, small molecule therapeutics to address areas of high, unmet medical need, principally in cancer, infection and immunology, providing a pipeline of assets to larger and emerging companies. By improving the characteristics of existing drug classes to create highly differentiated, novel, best-in-class drugs, Redx has already established a portfolio of 14 proprietary (patent‑protected) drug programs. Six proof of concepts have been achieved across five programs, with relevance for respective therapies to treat MRSA, bone tumours, skin, brain, breast, pancreatic and blood cancers. www.redxpharma.com @RedxPharma
Bionow is an award winning specialist business development and services’ company serving the biomedical and life sciences sector in the North of England.
Bionow supports business growth, competitiveness and innovation within the sector and offer an exceptional range of specialist business support products and services that focus upon the specific needs of companies at their individual stages of development. Our mission is to provide companies with the tools and support to become the most competitive in the industry. www.bionow.co.uk @bionow
For press enquiries about the delegation at BIO, please contact Chris Hulme 07971 350116 firstname.lastname@example.org