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Life sciences in the north east (video)

George Freeman, Minister for Life Sciences, explains how the sector is thriving in the north east.

George Freeman

Life sciences in the North East


George Freeman, Minister for Life Sciences:

Here in the north east we see a growing life science cluster - over 130 companies, 5,000 employees and a turnover of over £500 million.

In the 21st century model of life science, which is all about patient-centred research, the northern health science alliance is becoming a global powerhouse. There are 5 universities, 8 hospitals, nearly 20 million patients in one incredibly powerful research cluster.

Sir John Burn, Professor of Clinical Genetics, Newcastle University:

So the north east, I think, has real potential in this area. This was the birth place of the locomotive, the lightbulb and the steam turbine engine - so we’re good at inventing things. It’s really very exciting to bring that history of industrial innovation to our healthcare, and we’re going to start making a difference in healthcare for the whole country and for the world.

For me the Northern Powerhouse is first and foremost about getting the strengths of the northern cities - Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield - integrated together, so that we start to think as a true operating unit. We need to tap in to that tremendous resource of enthusiasm and skills in industry and innovative technologies to bring them together and create head offices for biotech companies here in the north, instead of always thinking of ourselves as a branch economy.

Elaine Warburton, CEO QuantuMDX Group:

QuantuMDX is a tools and technologies company. We’re developing a handheld laboratory capable of sampling a result in 15 minutes. What we’ve done is taken an entire laboratory and miniturised it into a handheld device. We’re looking at developing tests for malaria, cancer and infectious diseases as well as companion diagnostics.

George Freeman, Minister for Life Sciences:

The Northern Powerhouse in life sciences is driving technology leadership, company development and the transformation of the NHS into a truly 21st century health service.

Published 24 February 2016