North West regions in frame for global investment in healthy ageing sector

Tim Newns

The Department for International Trade (DIT) is to promote Greater Manchester and Cheshire & Warrington to international investors looking to design, develop, test, and commercialise new diagnostics and early interventions for healthy ageing.

The successful joint bid by MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency, and Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, secured High Potential Opportunity (HPO) status, leveraging the regions’ world leading cluster of clinical, academic and commercial life sciences assets and expertise.

These collective strengths of the two regions are outlined in the DIT document, High Potential Opportunity: Diagnostics and Early Intervention for Healthy Ageing.

The HPO programme identifies specific investment opportunities to promote to foreign investors, with an ambition of driving inward investment in regional economies.

The Diagnostics and Early Intervention HPO will highlight the commercial opportunities across the region for investors in 177 countries centred around four key themes: Diagnostics, SMART technologies, Assistive technologies and Therapeutics.

Inclusion in the HPO programme acknowledges Health Innovation for Healthy Ageing as a global frontier sector strength at the heart of Greater Manchester’s Local Industrial Strategy and Economic Vision, its £6bn devolved healthcare budget, and the world-class life sciences facilities across Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Warrington.

The COVID pandemic has emphasised the global need for better diagnostics and new therapeutics to address the challenges of both new and existing diseases which are known to exert a greater impact on older people.

This HPO underlines the North West’s importance and prominence in the UK life sciences sector, which is worth more than £80.7bn a year to the economy, and draws attention to the region’s key strengths in molecular diagnostics, digital health and drug discovery and development, to help deliver on the UK Government’s Life Science Vision, and address the challenges of a growing global ageing population.

Tim Newns, CEO of MIDAS, said: “As outlined in the Greater Manchester Local Industrial Strategy and Economic Vision, Greater Manchester aims to be a global leader in health and care innovation by improving health outcomes and extending life expectancy.

“With proven research capabilities and as one of the largest life science and healthcare clusters in the EU, this HPO reaffirms the skills, partnerships and commercial opportunities that exist in Greater Manchester and Cheshire for companies developing new healthcare solutions.”

Clare Hayward, chair of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Cheshire and Warrington and Greater Manchester have world leading assets and capabilities in life sciences, and inclusion in the Department for International Trade’s HPO programme is a clear endorsement of this.

“With an outstanding track record of clinical innovation at the Alderley Park bioscience campus, Cheshire and Warrington is ready to work with international investors to tackle the big challenges of our time such as diagnostics and healthy ageing.

“We can offer a fantastic test bed for global pharmaceutical companies, and through our Growth Hub, will offer extensive business support and access to talent via our extensive industry partnerships.”

She added: “Alongside our outstanding intellectual and physical assets and an established and innovative supply chain, we can offer a brilliant quality of life here that few other locations can rival.”

Lou Cordwell, chair of Greater Manchester LEP, said: “The launch of this HPO is an important step in helping Greater Manchester forge new partnerships and attract investment from those at the forefront of health innovation. Our region already has so much to offer – world leading research capabilities, access to talent, and one of the largest life sciences clusters in the UK.

“Innovation in areas like diagnostics will be crucial to supporting an ageing society. In collaboration with our counterparts in Cheshire and Warrington, we’re ready to play our part in responding to this global challenge.”

Richard Deed, associate commercial director-industry, Health Innovation Manchester, said: “The North West is uniquely positioned to deliver health innovation at pace and scale thanks to the region’s exceptional life science research assets, world class expertise and thriving industry partnerships.

“This HPO will further support the North West’s prominent position within health innovation and as an attractive area for collaborations.”

The HPO also draws attention to the region’s central geographical location, national and international connectivity, comprehensive supply chain and quality of life, underpinning the commercial offer to companies.