Cardiff Capital Region – A True Life Science Hub
The image below from Life Sciences Hub Wales shows some of the key clusters of academia, business, and research throughout the country.
As you can see, as well as several localised and developing clusters throughout the country, the Cardiff Capital Region is quickly establishing itself as a true hub for the Life Science Industry and – more specifically – medical diagnostics and devices.
An industrial hub is generally considered to be a geographical area that has:
1. A strong presence of companies of various sizes
In the Cardiff Capital Region, there are a cluster of over 200 businesses working in medical diagnostics and devices conducting various stages of research, development, and manufacturing.
This sector is one of the fastest-growing in the area and currently employs over 8,000 people.
Companies that are manufacturing in this area include:
- BBI Group – beginning in 1986 in Cardiff, BBI group is now a “leading expert in immunoassay development and manufacturing services”. Their glucose oxidase is used in over 5 billion blood glucose monitoring test strips every year. You can see more about the BBI group in our company profile below
- ConvaTec – a “global medical products and technologies company” with products in the areas of ostomy, continence, and wound care. They operate a manufacturing site in Rhymney. In 2007, the company invested £20m in the site, which was producing the material used to make 100 million dressings per year.
- Flexicare – making a range of medical devices, including respirators and ventilator breathing systems, this Mountain-Ash based company moved to 24/7 manufacturing and hired additional production staff in 2020 to meet the demand for such devices as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Invacare – designs and manufactures a range of “mobility and independent living products”. Based in Pencoed, the company employs over 250 people.
- Ortho Clinical Diagnostics – diagnostics company with products to screen, diagnose, monitor and confirm diseases. The Pencoed facility supplies immunoassay and immunohaematology products to 125 countries around the world.
- Technovent – the UK’s leading supplier of its own-brand specialist maxillofacial prosthetic materials, based in Bridgend.
- Thermo Fisher – operating as Sterilin, this is the “leading provider of single-use plastic products serving the microbiology, life sciences and clinical markets”. They employ approximately 270 people in Newport. You can see more about Thermo Fisher in our company profile below.
- Zimmer Biomet – employer of over 800 people in Bridgend, the company manufactures orthopedic surgical devices. In 2019 they announced plans to invest £2.5m to create a specialist “European Centre of Excellence for Porous Coating” at the site.
2. Strong local academic institutions providing a well-qualified talent pool and complimentary research
“We now have to continue to fill the sector with graduates who are ready to step in to this new and exciting sector and continue to help it grow into something even bigger and better.”
– Cardiff Capital Region, 2020
The Cardiff Capital Region is strongly supported by local academic institutions, including:
University of South Wales
The University of South Wales is a modern university with 3 campuses across the Cardiff Capital Region. It has a focus on preparing students for life after graduation, and 95% of graduates are in work or further study within six months of graduation.
The university feeds directly into the talent pool for the Life Science industries of the Cardiff Capital Region with courses including:
Cardiff University is the 10th largest university in the UK and has a long history of research (that’s included two Nobel Prize Winners). The university ranks 3rd in the UK for effectiveness in converting research into successful companies.
Cardiff University spinouts adding to the Life Sciences cluster of the Cardiff Capital Region have included:
3. Infrastructure to support industry
Supporting organisations and companies can come in many forms within an industrial hub.
Across the Cardiff Capital Region, examples include:
- Cardiff Medicentre – a joint venture between Cardiff University and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. Described as “a business incubator facility that provides space and support for biotech and medtech startups” – ranging from desks and office space to laboratories.
- GE Healthcare Innovation Village – established as a result of GE Healthcare’s commitment to collaboration. The campus aims to support and grow emerging life science businesses and academic spinouts. GE Healthcare works with tenants, providing advice and support to help turn their ideas into market-ready products.
- The Life Sciences Hub (as described in the section above)
- Renishaw Healthcare Centre of Excellence – the global precision engineering company opened its Healthcare Centre of Excellence in 2016. This facility allows for the manufacture of custom medical devices and provides “education and training for the life science community” through features including a mock non-sterile operating theatre.
This category also includes suppliers and services that work in support of, or in a complimentary way to, the industry. The Compound Semiconductor Cluster is a good example of this within the Cardiff Capital Region’s hub.
4. The support of local government and industry bodies
As outlined above, one of the Cardiff Capital Region’s official priorities is “focusing specifically on medical diagnostics and devices”.
This means that local industry can get direct support for projects that help towards the region’s goal of developing this hub. Their current approved projects include: