UKs first Life Sciences Opportunities Zone praised at ministerial visit

The Rt Hon Lord Henley, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) endorsed the UK’s first Life Sciences Opportunities Zone during a visit to Charnwood Campus on Friday 1 June.

The Life Sciences Opportunities Zone (LSOZ) aims to create an environment to inspire discovery, encourage collaboration, accelerate business growth, and help contribute to the Midlands and the UK’s continued growth at the cutting edge of the Life Science industry. LSOZ consists of world-class laboratories and specialist manufacturing facilities and is home to top bioscience, pharmaceutical, med-tech companies such as Almac, 3M and ARM Holdings.

Lord Henley met with The Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP for Loughborough, LLEP Board Member Dr Nik Kotecha CEO of Morningside Pharmaceuticals, and representatives from Charnwood Campus to celebrate the Life Sciences sector, which according to latest figures is valued at £150 million in gross value added (GVA) and employs 3,600 across 130 businesses in the Leicester and Leicestershire area.

Grant Bourhill, CEO of the University of Leicester’s Science Parks said: “We are delighted that Lord Henley visited the UK’s first Life Sciences Opportunity Zone at Charnwood Campus and evidenced the strong industrial, academic and public sector partnership that is driving this exciting opportunity forward.

“Life Sciences in the Midlands is extremely strong, the third largest region in the country in employment terms.  In addition to strong business support networks, Leicester and Leicestershire has the largest single NHS Trust, holding data across a large and stable ethnically diverse population.  The region benefits from world-leading academic and clinical expertise, with a well-renowned Biomedical Research Centre focused on common, chronic lifestyle diseases.

“The University of Leicester is planning a Life Sciences Accelerator for Precision Medicine and Lifestyle Disease at Charnwood Campus. This will be a central innovation hub for deep partnership between the University, industry and the NHS, and will involve a shared diagnostics and data centre, teaching facilities and labs. We look forward to working with Lord Henley and his team as this exciting opportunity develops further.”

The Leicester and Leicestershire Local Industrial Strategy (LIS) sets out an ambitious growth plan for the city and county over the next 20 years. It recognises Life Sciences - Medical Technologies, which employs around 600,000 people across the Midlands, as a key sector that will drive long-term productivity.

As part of the ministerial visit, a roundtable discussion about the sector took place to discuss its strengths, weaknesses, and how it can continue to contribute to the local economy.

In addition to its LSOZ status, Charnwood Campus is one part of the Loughborough and Leicester Science and Innovation Enterprise Zone, which offers a range of benefits for businesses who locate to the site including rates relief, simplified planning and improved infrastructure.