£150,000 investment announced for biotechnology sector

Invest Northern Ireland today announced details of a £150,000 initiative aimed at assisting organisations within the biotechnology sector in Northern Ireland to work more closely together to respond to industry challenges and increase competitiveness.

The announcement was made as Invest NI and BioBusiness NI launched the Northern Ireland Life and Health Technologies Sector Report. It is the most extensive study of the sector ever carried out, and input was sought from a wide cross section of industry stakeholders, including government departments, academics, clinicians, Health and Personal Social Services and the vast majority of businesses in the sector.

Invest NI has offered £150,000 to support a collaboration project led by BioBusiness NI called ‘ABC Collaborations’ which was identified as a key action in the report. The project will address issues and challenges by helping biotechnology sector businesses to build research and development partnerships, embrace innovation and work more closely together to develop workforce skills.

Speaking at the report launch in Belfast, Invest NI Chief Executive, Leslie Morrison, said: “Life and health technologies is a major growth sector in Northern Ireland. This Collaborative networking project will be crucial as we help the industry realise its full potential through the exploitation of our growing local knowledge base.

Peter Donnelly, Chief Executive of BioBusinessNI, said: “Through the ABC Collaborations programme, the life and health technology sector in Northern Ireland will be able to develop and promote priority areas identified in the Capability Study, including genomics (particularly cancer and personalised medicine), human nutrition, diabetes, medical devices, clinical trials and medical packaging. A major tangible benefit will be new product development in addition to other benefits such as increased research and supply chain benefits.”

In Northern Ireland the life and health technologies sector comprises of approximately 60 companies employing around 4,000 people, with a turnover of over £300 million per annum and exporting around 80% of its products.