North-West needs more science parks with facilities like The Heath, says CEO of pharmaceutical research business
The leader of a flourishing pharmaceutical research company which has relocated its R&D operations to The Heath Business and Technical Park in Runcorn has called on the Government to invest in more Heath-style facilities that support the chemistry sector.
Paul Colbon, CEO of Liverpool ChiroChem (LCC), says: We are expanding rapidly, and The Heath is one of the very few places in the North-West that has chemistry labs suitable for our operations. If the UK government is serious about the levelling up agenda, they need to ensure we build and maintain science parks that are fit for purpose.
The UK must have laboratories suitable for all disciplines of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Many science parks exclude chemistry because of the additional cost of the air handling required for ducted fume-hoods. Chemistry is integral to science and healthcare innovation, but Manchester Science Park and Liverpool Science Park have no real chemistry labs, which is very disappointing.
Dr Colbon adds: There is a national shortage of chemistry labs and so we feel very fortunate to have secured labs at The Heath.
LCC was founded in 2014 as a staff start-up by researchers in the Xiao Group at The University of Liverpool. LCC produces specialist chemicals that support the discovery and development of new pharmaceutical drugs for diseases such as cancer and dementia. The company has moved its core research operation to The Heath Business and Technical Park where a 20-strong team are now based. LCC services >150 customers across the US, Europe and Asia.
Dr Colbon says several customers have used LCC products to develop early-stage drugs that are undergoing pre-clinical studies before potentially going onto clinical trials in the coming years.
Its exciting to think that in 5-10 years, there could be several new drugs saving lives that LCC helped, even if only in a small way, to develop. We will maintain research projects ongoing with the University of Liverpool, but all our scientists will be based at The Heath. We also have a management office in Wigan, explains Dr Colbon.
LCC moved on to The Heath at the beginning of October and Dr Colbon says he hopes the Government will pay heed to his call for more assistance for the chemistry sector.
He adds: Scientists in our sector need facilities that are affordable and accessible. The North-West, North-East and the Midlands are all areas where rents are lower than the golden triangle of London, Oxford and Cambridge. Scientists are environmentally conscious, and we want to take public transport to work. We need more science parks like The Heath which are accessible by train from the excellent Universities of Liverpool, Manchester, Lancaster and Chester. This is essential for recruitment.
For more information on LCC visit: www.liverpoolchirochem.com
About The Heath
The Heath Business and Technical Park is a phenomenal regeneration success story. Formed in 2000, its owner and operator, SOG Ltd, has transformed a once single occupancy corporate facility into a thriving independent business park. The Heath now provides office and laboratory accommodation for more than 120 individual organisations, ranging from business services and IT specialists to those at the cutting edge of science, research and advanced manufacturing. Around 2,000 people are employed at the site. For further information, telephone 01928 515988 or visit www.theheath.com
For more information, please see:
PAUL SMITH ASSOCIATES
24th October 2022