Wales gets world class life sciences business development centre
22 July 2014
The Life Sciences Hub Wales was officially opened by Welsh
Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, Edwina Hart on 17 July.
The aim of the Hub, which is located in the Cardiff Bay area, is
to create a vibrant life sciences ecosystem bringing together
academic, business, clinical, professional services and funding
organisations so business and innovation can flourish.
Combined with the £100 million Life Sciences Investment Fund, the
Hub will be used to connect the life sciences sector throughout
Wales, attract new sector opportunities and investment, nurture
emerging projects, and accelerate the growth of the sector in Wales
to create jobs and economic growth.
“The £100m Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund was launched at
the BioWales Conference in March 2013. The Welsh Government has
invested £50 million into the Fund which will be managed by
Arthurian Life Sciences Limited, established by serial biotech
entrepreneur Professor Sir Chris Evans OBE. Arthurian has committed
to raising another £50 million for the Fund. “
The Fund has already made four strategic investments, committing
£20 million of funding. These investments include the Merthyr
Tydfil-based clinical trials business Simbec Research, where the
Fund provided initial growth funding and then more recently a second
round to fund the merger with Orion Clinical Services. Simbec has
grown from a business generating revenues of £5m and employing 80
people, to a multi-site business with 250 staff across Europe
expected to generate turnover of £25m this year.
The Fund has also invested in cell therapy specialists, ReNeuron
Group, as part of a financing round to fund the relocation of
operations and establishment of a state-of-the-art cell
manufacturing and development facility at Pencoed Technology Park,
near Cardiff, due to complete in Spring 2015.
An investment was also made in Verona Pharma, which develops
drugs for respiratory disease, to further advance the drugs
currently undergoing clinical trials. Verona, like ReNeuron Group,
is listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment
Market, and is an example of where the Arthurian fund has encouraged
co-investors to participate in funding rounds, attracting additional
external investment into the Life Sciences sector in Wales.
Edwina Hart, Wales’ Minister for Economy,
and Transport opening the Hub
Edwina Hart, Wales’ Minister for Economy, Science and Transport,
said: “The Hub will cover all elements from funding to business
support to international development and promotion, bringing the
Life Sciences sector together for easy access by both Welsh Life
Sciences companies and inward investors. The £100 million Wales Life
Sciences Investment Fund will be a key part of the support available
to businesses, alongside other forms of finance and the Hub is
central to our long-term strategy to grow the sector to deliver at
least £1 billion of extra value by 2022.”
The Life Sciences Hub
The Hub has high-quality meeting space to host events and
training, videoconferencing and a media room as well as access to
the Life Sciences team from the Welsh Government, representatives of
the Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund and a range of support from
professional advisers, patent agents and technology transfer
There will be an active events programme and the venue will
provide a lively central Hub for universities and academics,
clinicians, SMEs and pharmaceutical companies to interact with each
other and representatives from NHS Wales, clinical experts,
healthcare organisations, providers of finance and other advisors.
The Hub has four clear goals:
- connect and concentrate the Life Sciences sector in Wales;
- attract new Life Sciences opportunities and investment;
- nurture and accelerate the growth of Life Sciences
businesses in Wales;
- create economic growth, wealth and new jobs.
Anchor tenants already secured include Johnson & Johnson
Innovation and GE Healthcare. Other members include; BBI Healthcare,
Finance Wales and Arthurian Life Sciences and a range of blue-chip
professional advisers including Geldards, Broomfield Alexander and
Withers & Rogers. The membership application process is still open,
although the hub is now at over 50% capacity.