How is biotech in Wales? We take a look at some companies based in the ‘Land of Song,’ their plans and their achievements.
After taking a look at the vibrant biotech clusters in the UK like London and Cambridge and picking the top biotechs in Scotland, it’s time to direct our attention to the western part of Great Britain, Wales. Sometimes regarded as an ‘underdog of the UK,’ that reputation certainly doesn’t apply to its biotech scene. Here to prove it are eight cool biotechs ranging from well-established companies to new innovative startups.
Major thanks to Life Sciences Hub Wales for their guidance!
Located in Cardiff, Trakcel develops software to manage the supply chain of cell therapies, in both the logistically-challenging autologous and allogeneic approaches. Its cell orchestration platform (COP) allows users to track and document critical information about the development, manufacturing and delivery of therapies. The platform cuts costs and risks, as well as easing cell therapy‘s obstacle run in regulatory processes.
With headquarters in Deeside, Convatec has a market cap of £5.0B and over 8000 employees across the world. It specializes in the areas of wound and incontinence care, developing products to prevent infection and protect the skin. These include the advanced wound dressings Aquacel, which form a gel when in contact with fluid from wounds, creating an optimal environment for wound healing.
The Healthcare division of the American giant General Electric, valued at $265Bn, has a stronghold in the Maynard Centre, Cardiff. It’s the global headquarters for GE Healthcare’s Cell BioProcessing business, and the site has developed work in diagnostics and stem cells.
GE Healthcare acts as an important anchor company in the Maynard Centre, as well as an important supplier for over 10k customers, spread across Pharma, Biotech and academia.
Renishaw is a global engineering company with a market cap of £2.2B, and one of its areas is healthcare. Last year it chose South Wales to open a new Healthcare Centre of Excellence. This center includes a facility to make customized medical devices with metal 3D printing, such as dental frameworks and patient-specific implants. The other purpose of the centre is to train neurosurgeons in Renishaw’s equipment for stereotactic neurosurgery, a less invasive technique used for procedures like biopsies.
Reneuron relocated to Pencoed Business Park in South Wales, one year ago, bringing its research and manufacturing facilities as well. This Biotech develops off-the-shelf cell therapies for various conditions and has managed to snatch one of the most important Biotech VCs in Europe.
Reneuron’s most advanced clinical program is a Phase II study on ischemic stroke. The biotech is also developing a candidate therapy for retinitis pigmentosa.
Jellagen is a marine biotech startup that won Boost Cymru, a competition of the Life Sciences Hub Wales. Since its creation in 2013, Jellagen has managed to attract £2M in funding from grants and angel investors.
It aims to extract collagen from jellyfishes and so create a superior product for research and medical biomaterials, as we discussed in this interview with Jellagen’s CEO.
Based in the Maynard Centre in Cardiff, Cotton Mouton Diagnostics focuses on bio-detection systems and point-of-need diagnostics. It was created as a spin-out of the Universities of Exeter and Cardiff.
Its technology platform is based on the Cotton-Mouton Effect, a change in the optical behavior of fluids subject to a magnetic field. The biotech harnesses this property to detect specific disease markers and build new simple, reliable diagnostics.
Based in North Wales, Elidir Health develops apps for hospitals and healthcare providers since its creation in 2015. These allow health professionals to communicate and access relevant information. Particularly in emergencies, quick sharing of information and effective coordination is fundamental.
Elidir pays particular attention to design in order to make sure that the information system doesn’t strain resources in healthcare. One of its main objectives is to free up nursing time, and the company is co-developing an application for nurses with the UK’s National Health System (NHS).
There are very interesting biotechs in Wales, a few operating in some more exotic avenues of biotech like jellyfish collagen. The country has managed to attract and foster some big names, check out the companies on this map from Life Sciences Hub Wales!
The Hub is a proud supporter of BioWales, the country’s flagship biotech event taking place on March 7th & 8th. Catch speakers from GSK, Pfizer, GE Healthcare and Microsoft, who will discuss the latest developments in cell therapy, regenerative medicine and medtech.
Check out the agenda for more info!
Images by Billy Stock, Pan Xunbin, sdecoret, Sidarta, khun nay zaw, Juan Gaertner, Danny Iacob, starchaser, kudla, Kent Weakley, sfam_photo, Billion Photos, Matej Kastelic (Shutterstock)