Life Sciences

Academic centres of excellence and exceptional investment sites

A world class centre of healthcare excellence, a workforce underpinned by university graduate talent and pharmaceutical manufacturing prowess, make our region highly attractive to life sciences investors.

Why Life Sciences companies choose to invest in North East England

  • Existing world class pharmaceutical manufacturers successfully operating from clusters in our region – GSK, Aesica and Piramal Healthcare – all innovate, develop, test and distribute life-saving medications across the globe… and are all aided by our stable, cost competitive, and productive workforce. 
  • Superb availability of exceptional quality sites for life sciences investors, such as Newcastle Helix, NETPark and the International Centre for Life
  • Newcastle University ranks in the world’s top 100 for life sciences research with academic centres of excellence at our five universities in age-related diseases, personalised medicine and digital healthcare 
  • Over one-quarter of students at our universities study life sciences subjects, the highest number of life sciences students in England relative to size of the workforce 
  • Renowned clinical trials platforms and highly active clinical research networks across different disease and therapeutic areas.


Download the North East LEPs brochure on Health and Life Sciences in the North East

Sector growth from world class R&D base

North East England’s life sciences sector is a fast-growing success story. Our region is the UK Manufacturing centre for the Life Sciences sector, with 86% of all pharmaceutical production exported for global use (source First for Pharma).

Our region has the UK’s highest per capita value of exports of medicinal and pharmaceuticals products to the world.

Sector strength is founded on a base of 170 life sciences-related businesses supported by over 6,800 employees in the wider sector.

Pharmaceuticals manufacturers like MSD in Cramlington, Northumberland, thrive in our region. It employs 400 people at one of the most advanced plants of its type in the world – a recognised centre of excellence for tablet manufacturing and packaging.

GSK produces over 500,000 units a day at its 60-acre manufacturing site in County Durham, employing 1,100 people.

Our extensive supply chain to the pharmaceuticals industry includes companies in drug discovery, custom synthesis, specialist bio-processing and technical support.

Our region has strong clusters of life sciences firms centred in County Durham, Newcastle, Gateshead and Northumberland, with development space available for investors next to existing companies.

These firms and many more have taken advantage of our superb combination of highly competitive labour costs, low property costs and world best academic R & D in the sector.

The North East boasts a number of exceptional quality, available sites and properties for life sciences companies – including NETPark, the North East Business and Innovation Centre, Newcastle Helix and Newcastle Bio-Incubator.

The Financial Times Benchmarking Study found a typical 50-person life sciences R & D operation in North East England would save around £1m per annum in costs compared to South East England.

Investors benefit from access to outstanding academic research, centres of excellence and support organisations.

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is a major international technology innovation hub. The Darlington based National Biologics Manufacturing Centre, provides companies with open access facilities and expertise to help them develop, prove and commercialise new and improved processes and technologies.

The National Formulation Centre at NETPark, provides facilities and expertise to facilitate radical product and process design.

Newcastle University is a Pfizer INSPIRE site – a programme aiming to create strategic partnerships in locations where the world’s most impactful and successful research is being conducted. This research includes work at the Campus for Ageing and Vitality, a partnership between Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University. This programme is soon to be relocated to Science Central.

It is widely recognised as the prime centre of excellence in this area anywhere in Europe, leading research into how society combats age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Companies such as Biosignatures and Total Lab are taking advantage of our strength in the digital health sector to lead technological advances in next generation molecular diagnostics tests, using software to research genomics and biochemistry.

North East England also has significant clinical trials platforms across different disease and therapeutic areas, with an excellent record for bringing patients into trials when compared with other UK regions.

For instance, in 2016/17 the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust ranked first in the UK in the number of recruiting clinical studies.

Six reasons why...

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INEE Infographic
INEE Infographic
INEE Infographic
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