NORTH East life sciences sector agency CELS has merged with Manchester- based Bionow to provide business support to biomedical companies across the North.
Both organisations were set up by their respective regional development agencies – CELS by One North East in 1999 and Bionow a year later by the Northest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) – but have been forced to find new ways to keep going since the Government scrapped all the RDAs and the funding they provided.
The combined group will be known as Bionow, but will retain both its Newcastle and Manchester offices.
It will work as a not-for-profit company backing the biomedical and life science sector across the North.
Geoff Davison, chief executive of Bionow, said: “We had a lot of synergies and the geography of the North makes a lot of sense post-RDA.
“We were 100% funded by the RDA and when it was abolished, we started a standalone business from scratch.
“It is a paid subscription model and this is what we will be using now.”
He said that there would be no redundancies on Tyneside or Manchester as a result of the merger.
The Northern region is responsible for around 30% of the UK biomedical businesses, which is made up of more than 1,000 companies generating £10.5bn a year and employing 38,000 people. The area is also home to the N8 Research Partnership, made up of Durham, Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and York universities.
Dr John Stageman, who will chair the combined company, said: “The increased focus upon the North will allow the benefits already available to over 100 companies to be accessible to many more companies thereby strengthening this important industry sector and significantly supporting the UK Government's focus upon this sector as a driver of economic recovery.”
Alastair Balls, who was previously chairman of CELS, has been appointed deputy chairman of the new business.
He said: “Through this merger we will be able to extend the excellent work of CELS and Bionow to forge a powerful organisation that can deliver strategic benefits across the North of England and continue the mission of driving economic benefit from this important and global life science sector.”
The combined company will offer business support via a membership scheme, which provides savings on services such as specialist procurement, recruitment, insurance and regulatory support.
It will also offer expert help and advice to membes and arrange specialist events across the North.
Earlier this month, the region’s biggest digital business group Codeworks announced it was closing after losing its public sector funding.
Like CELS, it was one of five centres of excellence created by One North East to support different business sectors.