The Welsh government has launched the Life Sciences Hub Wales, a national and international focal point for the life sciences and healthcare sectors in Wales. The life sciences hub will be based in Cardiff Bay and will bring together academic, business, clinical, professional services and funding organizations.
Combined with the $171 million Life Sciences Investment Fund, the largest dedicated investment fund for any sector in Wales, the launch of the life sciences hub will place Wales on the world stage for life sciences innovation and development. The life sciences hub and the Investment Fund will be used to connect the life sciences sector throughout Wales and will attract new sector opportunities and investment, nurture emerging life sciences projects and accelerate the growth of the life sciences sector in Wales to create jobs and economic growth.
Edwina Hart, Wales' minister for Economy, Science and Transport, said, "The hub will cover all elements from funding to business support to international development and promotion, bringing the life sciences sector together for easy access by both Welsh life sciences companies and inward investors. The $171 million Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund will be a key part of the support available to businesses, alongside other forms of finance, and the hub is central to our long-term strategy to grow the sector to deliver at least $1.7 billion of extra value by 2022."
The Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund was launched at the BioWales Conference in March 2013. The Welsh government has invested $85.5 million into the fund, which will be managed by Arthurian Life Sciences. Arthurian has committed to raising another $85.5 million for the fund.
The Hub will offer meeting space with Wi-Fi access, space to host events and training, video conferencing and a media room, as well as access to a life sciences team from the Welsh government, representatives of the Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund and a range of support from professional advisers, patent agents and technology transfer specialists. There will be an active events program and the venue will provide a central hub for universities and academics, clinicians, SMEs and industry to interact with one another and representatives from NHS Wales, clinical experts, healthcare organizations, providers of finance and other advisors.
The life sciences hub has four goals:
Anchor tenants already secured include Johnson & Johnson Innovation and GE Healthcare. Other members include BBI Healthcare, Finance Wales and Arthurian Life Sciences. The membership application process still is open, although the hub now is at over 50% capacity.
The hub will be operated through Life Sciences Hub Wales, and will be run by Dr. Ian Barwick, chief operating officer. Barwick has experience working in life sciences across the academic, public and commercial sectors. Chris McGuigan is executive chairman and will be supported by members of the Life Sciences Hub Wales board.
In addition to the hub and the Life Sciences Fund, the Welsh government has launched Sêr Cymru, a $85.5 million scheme to enhance and build on the research capacity in Wales.
The life sciences hub will collaborate with other centers of life sciences excellence in the U.K. and already has a co-operation agreement in place with MedCity, an initiative launched by Boris Johnson, mayor of London, in April that brings together the life sciences specialists in London, Oxford and Cambridge.