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Life science pioneers secure £2.5m in grants

By 28th July 2023 No Comments
Newcastle based Life Sciences and Biomedical businesses, LightOx, NunaBio, Magnitude Biosciences and Hexis Lab are celebrating securing several grant awards amounting to over £2.5million from Innovate UK’s latest round of R&D grants.
Innovate UK provides the UK’s most innovative companies grant funding to help accelerate their growth and leverage private sector investment in the region. Through the support of advocates such as Labour’s Shadow Science MP Chi Onwurah, the region is able to demonstrate its capability and excellence in commercialising scientific breakthroughs.
The funding will be used to advance the pharmaceutical and biotechnology research services, technology and drug development of these stand out companies. Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, have invested up to £25 million in a range of projects across the country this year. Supporting UK businesses to develop solutions that address significant health or healthcare challenges. From cancer prevention, development of new DNA based drug products, testing regimes and tailored treatments, the group are collectively transforming the delivery of healthcare and the development of new health technologies.
The North East is fast becoming a hot bed of talent and innovation, with a notable rise in Life Sciences and Biomedical companies in the region proud to call it their home. An industry that has been supported not only through available funding but by key advocates including Labour’s Shadow Science MP Chi Onwurah, who has been lending her voice as shadow science minister to the sector in Westminster and beyond. A voice that has most importantly helped in levelling up available investment and encouraged more of that funding back into the region.
Chi Onwurah MP, said:
The UK’s fantastic Life Science sector is the envy of countries across the world and a reflection of our brilliant science base and proud history of scientific discovery. These companies are addressing critical areas of discovery in medicine, vaccines and biochemical manufacturing. The Life Sciences sector is not only key to extending our quality of life, but is also crucial to creating a high wage, high growth, high skill, high productivity economy we all want to see.
Labour recognises that Life Sciences must be a central part of any growth strategy and fundamental to building regional economies like here in the North East. LightOx, NunaBio, Magnitude Biosciences and Hexis Lab are shining examples of the innovation we have here on our doorstep and the award of the grants will only go to support them further on their growth journeys. Delivering pioneering solutions and helping to put the North East firmly on the map.”
Dr Sam Whitehouse, Chief Executive Officer at LightOx and NELEP Board Member said;
“We are delighted to have secured the Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst R&D grant alongside our superb neighbours and collaborators. These awards come at an important part of our business journey, and I am sure this support will help grow all our companies. The health and Life Sciences sector presents a huge number of opportunities for the North East and it’s been great to have the support of MP Chi Onwurah and to see the interest and levels of investment benefitting so many fellow businesses in the region.”
Dr Fozia Saleem, Chief Executive Officer at Magnitude Biosciences said:
“We are thrilled to have been awarded a Future Economy Investor Partnerships grant by Innovate UK. We have already developed our own novel imaging technology WormGazerTM to monitor the effects of compounds on C. elegans. This grant will enable further automation to increase through-put of compounds that can be screened, thus dramatically increasing the chances that customers will find potentially effective compounds. Having support from MP Chi Onwurah and other start-ups in the region allows us to put the North-East on the map and will really help with talent retention and acquisition too.”
Dr Olusola (Sola) Idowu, Chief Executive Officer at Hexis Lab said;
“Securing the Innovate UK funding is a game changer for us and our partner in this joint venture Teesside University.  The funding enables us to take our current early-stage research, and prove the science on a larger scale, creating sustainable alternatives for the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry. Having high level support from someone like our local MP is going to further strengthen the opportunities we have here in the North East to capitalise on the incredible talent we have here in the region, and help that talent to stay here. Further strengthening the opportunities for employers and employees in the North East.”

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