Healthcare and life science: a flourishing sector in North East England

NORTH East England’s healthcare market is booming, contributing £8bn to the regional economy, with over 172,000 people working within the sector.

NORTH East England’s healthcare market is booming, contributing £8bn to the regional economy, with over 172,000 people working within the sector. Identified as one of the ‘three pillars’ by the Regional Economic Strategy, developed by One NorthEast, the healthcare and life sciences sector continues to prosper with Cels, the organisation tasked with driving the region’s healthcare economy, at the helm.

Firmly committed to creating major and sustainable economic growth in this field, Cels acts as a catalyst, steering the region’s healthcare sector with the overall aim to grow its economy by £1.2bn by 2015. This is being achieved by collaborating with the region’s world leaders in biologics manufacturing and successful companies in the field of medical devices, assistive technology and health informatics. One of the ways Cels is achieving its ambitious goal is by supporting growth in these companies and encouraging new start-ups. This is evidenced by the recent success of regional companies in the national Medilink awards, which followed on from Cels’ ‘Business for Life’ awards. The exceptional success of the inaugural Cels Business for Life awards pays testament to this varied and dynamic North East healthcare sector.

Held at the Hilton NewcastleGateshead in November 2007, the awards recognised the most innovative and, in some cases, revolutionary companies working within life sciences across the region.

Hosted by the BBC’s Wendy Gibson and coordinated by the Cels Healthcare Network, the awards were a triumph with over 300 industry representatives attending. Throughout the ceremony, Cels paid tribute to all those who have achieved outstanding success in Innovation, Export Achievement, Start Up, Outstanding Growth, and Partnership with the NHS. A separate Chief Executive’s award was also given for long-term contribution to the sector as a whole.

The winning companies included: UK Haptics, based in Morpeth; Hart Biologicals, Hartlepool; Applied Neurodiagnostics, from Cramlington; ImmunoDiagnostic Systems (IDS), located in Boldon; Peacocks Medical Group, Newcastle; and Harlow Healthcare from South Shields.

All winners were automatically entered into the national ‘Medilink UK Healthcare Business Awards’, with finals held in Birmingham this February. Medilink is a national network, which brings together medical manufacturing and distribution companies, hospitals and universities to stimulate innovation and drive forward profitable developments in the healthcare technology and systems sector. This annual event recognises the UK’s most innovative healthcare companies at a national level.

Three out of five of the regional entrants were successful in their categories at Medilink, prompting praise for the region as a whole. Peacocks Medical Group was winner of ‘Export Achievement’; IDS won an award for ‘Growth in Sector’; and Hart Biologicals made it a North East hat trick by claiming the ‘Partnership with the NHS’ award.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The region’s outstanding success at the recent Medilink awards is further proof that we are an area of burgeoning talent and can offer a wealth of investment opportunities within the field of life sciences, writes Cels chief executive Mike Asher

Healthcare in North East is on the crest of a wave

THE Cels Business for Life awards was a landmark, highlighting the region’s successes and celebrating the opportunities that lie within North East England’s buoyant healthcare industry.

We continue to act as a support mechanism for all life science-based companies, providing a wide range of commercial and business support services in an effort to help strengthen existing industry and forge new areas of growth.

Cels manages a number of initiatives, including InSTeP, a collaborative initiative with Northumbria University’s Centre for Design Research, and a number of industry partners including product design company Kinneir Dufort. InSTeP provides a comprehensive support mechanism for businesses, creating a clear and practical route to bring research to market via prototyping. Initiatives such as this help regional healthcare companies to take their idea to market in the quickest time possible, providing help and advice along the way.

In order to maintain economic growth through the healthcare sector, it is important to build a strong knowledge base and supply cohesive infrastructure for companies, uniting academia with commercial opportunities in industry. It is via this approach that we aim to provide companies with a positive business environment that will encourage development and expansion.

If you are interested in the investment opportunities available in the North East healthcare and life science sector, please contact or visit


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