CPI, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies and Teesside University have announced a collaboration to accelerate the bioscience sector in Tees Valley.

Named the Northern Bio-Accelerator Partnership (NBioP), the new collaboration will create a bioprocessing, biomanufacturing and biopharmaceutical hub in the region.

This will position the North East as a centre of innovation, attracting investment, enhanced education and workforce development, ultimately enabling more companies to bring life changing medicines to market faster.

Based at Darlington’s Central Park, with easy access to rail, road and air travel, the hub will provide a unique location to attract investment and skills from across the North East and beyond.

Each organisation brings unique expertise to the partnership, with a proven track record of collaboration. Teesside University, through its National Horizons Centre, will provide the academic and skills aspect, offering industry-specific scientific expertise, while also driving research and providing workforce training and development. CPI will leverage its existing industry connections, innovation facilities and expertise to reduce risk, gain investment and accelerate the development of new biotech products and their manufacturing processes. FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, a global leader in the contract development and manufacture of biologics, will bring its global expertise for the development of new tools and technologies for biopharmaceutical manufacturing applications. This complementary approach is truly unique, with a focus not only on industry growth but also on education and employment opportunities in the region.

Having a ready workforce is more critical than ever, as researchers work on a COVID-19 vaccine. The skillset required for vaccine manufacturing and the production of other biotherapeutics requires in depth bioprocessing knowledge. Through this partnership and a joint training offering, the hub is already creating a pipeline of graduate talent, helping to train the next generation workforce in areas including advanced therapies.

With a high-density cluster of expertise and a well-developed business ecosystem, the North East offers a bioscience community that is second to none in the UK. Access to a mature supply chain and highly-skilled workforce, with much lower business costs than other areas of the UK, means a start-up company can establish itself in the region for life. In addition, start-ups can develop alongside other companies, collaborating with them throughout their business development lifecycle.

Frank Millar, CEO at CPI, said: “The North East has a thriving biosciences sector that is globally competitive, vibrant and viable. This collaboration will enable us to draw on the best of research, workforce development, innovation and manufacturing to enable companies to develop, prove, scale up and manufacture new products that will improve the quality of life of people around the world.”

Dr Mark Douglas, Vice President at FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, said: “We are very pleased to be a partner in this exciting collaboration and look forward to developing innovative new technologies here in Teesside, to address biopharmaceutical manufacturing challenges at a global level.”

Dr Jen Vanderhoven, Director of the National Horizons Centre at Teesside University, said: “This new collaboration will build on the strong industrial heritage, and burgeoning Tees Valley life sciences sector to enable staff, students and industry partners to work together. Drawing upon each other’s expertise and experiences, we will catalyse economic growth in the North East through the creation of jobs, the training of a highly skilled workforce and the driving of the nationally leading biosciences research and development.”

Ben Houchen, Tees Valley Mayor, said: “Our region is becoming one of the best places in the world for science, innovation and jobs of the future, and this is down to the fantastic work being done behind the scenes at the National Horizons Centre, CPI and Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies. Science and innovation are thriving in our region, and we’ve all seen this year how important work is on future medicines and therapies. It is because of nationally significant partnerships like this that we can continue to punch above our weight as a region and attract jobs, businesses and investment to Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.”