Suffolk: Tour showcases county’s biotech capability

SUFFOLK County Council has hosted a tour designed to showcase the county’s fast-emerging biotechnology centre.

The party include representatives from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and UK Trade & Investment as well as the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and district and borough councils.

Although overshadowed by Cambridge, Suffolk is within the top 25% of counties in terms of employment in biotechnology, with 36 companies in the sector having a combined workforce of around 3,000 in the county.

Companies visited during the tour included Genzyme Ltd in Haverhill (which employs 350 people), the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket (which has 200 people) and Nestor Pharmaceuticals in Mildenhall (30).

The party also visited the biotech laboratories at University Campus Suffolk in Ipswich.

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In 2010, UCS secured �2million in public and private sector support to develop a world-class biotech laboratory focusing on regenerative medicine, including �500,000 from Suffolk County Council and the former East of England Development Agency which enabledfurther private sector money to drawn down.

The first spin off company from the investment has recently secured “angel” funding from a Suffolk-based investor.

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Judy Terry, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for the economy, skills and the Greenest County initiative, said: “Few people realise just how much value the biotech sector adds to our economy and how varied the industry is.

“Suffolk’s biotech companies make a significant contribution both locally and to the industry internationally.

“Too often, Governments can be London-centric and do not appreciate the opportunities for growth that exist in the regions. We felt it was important for BIS and UKTI to understand fully how much expertise there is in Suffolk.

“The biotech sector is going to expand hugely in the next decade and we need to make sure we have the necessary local skills and infrastructure so that Suffolk can really capitalise on these opportunities.”

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