East Anglia: High hopes of investment boost for lifesciences sector following trade mission to China
PUBLISHED: 15:04 04 April 2014 | UPDATED: 17:22 04 April 2014
A trade mission to attract investment from China into the life sciences sector across Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk has led to hundreds of contacts which could lead to a multi-million pound boost to the regional economy.
Delegates from the three counties have spent the past week travelling around China’s Jiangsu province promoting the East of England as an ideal UK venue to do business.
They have met about 200 life science businesses, research institutes and government representatives, telling them about the benefits of either setting up or collaborating with the companies and research parks in the region.
The delegates include Sue Lissimore, Essex County Council’s deputy to the cabinet member for economic growth and infrastructure, Colleen Walker, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for economic development and experts from Anglia Ruskin University’s MedTech campus, the Norwich Research Park, University Campus Suffolk and Plant Bioscience Ltd.
They spent two hours with the vice president and chief operating officer of a major Chinese pharmaceutical company that is interested in sourcing new drug technologies. The company is also interested in visiting the East of England and setting up a research operation.
The delegation also agreed with the Jiangsu Department of Public Health to develop an exchange programme for doctors and nurses that will lead to universities in the East of England winning new students.
Some of their meetings have been filmed and broadcast on Chinese television.
The delegation returns this weekend and Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk county councils will then start work on turning the contacts into investment.
Sue Lissimore said: “We have put the East of England on the map for a very targeted group of Jiangsu businesses.
“I have found it tremendously interesting meeting so many representatives from such a variety of Life Sciences businesses and organisations, including some companies that incorporate traditional Chinese medicine with new research.”
Colleen said: “I am looking forward to returning to Norfolk to update life science businesses across the county with details of the fantastic links we have made. I am very hopeful that as a result of this trip Chinese investors will choose Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex as a great location for their business. There has been much interest in the Norwich Research Park.”
Richard Smith, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “The trade mission has been very successful. I look forward to talking to my colleagues in Essex and Norfolk on their return and then seeing the links they made in China become investment in our region.”
The East of England has one of the most advanced life sciences sectors in the UK. Specialties include agricultural technologies, clinical research, medical technologies, human health, food research, gene research, biotechnology and environmental technologies.