Delivering the infrastructure for health and life sciences businesses to invest in North East England

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Michelle Duggan, Inward Investment Manager at Invest North East England, explains how our region is a global hub for healthcare and life sciences, and that we provide the ideal environment for ambitious companies to create solutions that help us live longer, happier and healthier lives.
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The health and life sciences sector plays a crucial role in shaping the global economy by promoting health and driving innovation. It also creates significant economic activity through healthcare services, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical devices, and research and development. These industries create jobs, generate revenue, and contribute to GDP growth.


Recent data from the United Nations shows the global population aged 65 and over is expected to rise from 10% in 2022 to 16% in 2050. An ageing population brings with it a host of challenges; one of the biggest being how do we manage the health and wellbeing of people that are living longer lives? That question has led to a huge increase in investment in the health and life sciences sector. And we’ve seen that impact here in the North East of England


I’ve recently returned from Dubai where I was part of a Northern Powerhouse delegation attending Arab Health – one of the biggest healthcare and health technology trade shows in the world. More than 113,000 international delegates attended, with 3,400 exhibitors showcasing innovations in healthcare from every corner of the globe. What’s most striking about the event is the scale of the opportunity in the health and life sciences sector; it’s now a huge driver of the global economy.


I was part of the Northern Powerhouse delegation to showcase North East England as a leading hub for health and life science in the UK, and how we’re making it easier for health and life sciences businesses to invest here.


If you’re a regular reader of Bdaily you will have seen lots of stories in recent months about life sciences businesses in the North East’s that have secured major investment. Because of this, sites like NETPark in County Durham and Newcastle Helix are expanding to meet the needs of the sector. Newcastle City Council, working in partnership with UK government, is seeking an investor-developer to expand the hugely successful Biosphere laboratory facility on Newcastle Helix, and in County Durham, NETPark has begun work on its third phase of expansion, which will see the creation of 232,000 square feet of new laboratory, office and production space. 


But there are many businesses and investors looking for more laboratory and sciences-based spaces in the North East right now. To meet this growing demand, a feasibility study was commissioned by the North of Tyne Combined Authority, Invest Newcastle and Invest North East England to explore how existing buildings in Newcastle upon Tyne and the wider area could be converted and adapted into new laboratory space.


Developed by a consortium led by Ryder Architecture, alongside Monstarlab, Naylors Gavin Black and Dome, it shows the potential for over 40 sites across the region - including Blanford Studios, the Virgin Money building in Gosforth, and Colima Avenue in Sunderland – to become state-of-the-art laboratory, write up, office and meeting spaces. The methodology that’s been developed can be used across any property so the opportunity is in fact even greater.


This creates a huge inward investment opportunity for the North East. Not only do we have the incubator space and ecosystem to support new startups, we also have move-on space for businesses looking to expand and grow. This was the message we took to businesses at Arab Health - the North East is investor-ready and our infrastructure can accommodate ambitious and growing life sciences businesses.


As a region, our strengths in R&D and innovation – led by our world-class universities – coupled with some of the best development sites in the country make us a unique proposition for investors. Newcastle University, for example, recently announced plans to create the UK’s first health innovation neighbourhood to shape the future of health and ageing. This 29-acre site to the west of Newcastle city centre would act as a ‘living laboratory’ and influence healthy neighbourhood developments here in the UK and around the world.


Invest North East England is planning to visit Arab Health again in 2025, this time with a larger North East contingent; including some of successful life sciences businesses that call the North East home. We want to demonstrate to the world that our region is a global hub for healthcare and life sciences, and that we provide the ideal environment for ambitious companies to create solutions that help us live longer, happier and healthier lives.


To find out more about investment opportunities within the region’s life sciences sector, visit, or email

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About The Author

Invest North East England is the first point of contact for companies looking to invest in our region. Our highly experienced team opens the door for investors to North East England’s network of specialist organisations and individuals with the information, support and advice essential to any investment decision. We co-ordinate investment enquiries on behalf of our region’s local authorities to ensure businesses are able to make the best decisions based on a wide array of information.

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