Life science in the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor

4th February 2019

The Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor is at the forefront of a new era for life sciences and medtech as healthcare changes to meet the needs of our growing and ageing population.

The two major economics of the Tech Corridor are working at the exciting intersection of food and pharmaceuticals. Many of the 3,000 researchers working at Norwich Research Park are dedicated to developing new techniques in areas such as gut health, plant health and synthetic biology. This research expertise, coupled with the region’s strengths in agri-food and agri-tech, means the Tech Corridor is already playing a key role shaping the future of food.

In Cambridge, the fast-growing Biomedical Campus at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, home to world-leading businesses as well as institutes such as the MRC Molecular Biology Lab and the Cancer Research Cambridge Institute, complements the established hives of activity at Babraham Research Campus, Granta Park and the Wellcome Genome Campus. Life sciences is responsible for more than half of scientific R&D carried out in the city.

The advent of personalised medicine, where treatments are tailored to individual patients, means a new wave of medical devices for diagnosis and monitoring are about to hit clinics. And the engineering power of the Tech Corridor, with advanced manufacturing clusters in areas such as Thetford and Haverhill, mean it is the perfect place to bring your new product to life.

The institutions

Researchers in the Tech Corridor are leading the way when it comes to tackling the big issues facing society such as the future of food and medicine. Meanwhile our universities and colleges continue to nurture the next generation of talent.

Key institutions include:

  • The John Innes Centre – an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science, genetics and microbiology
  • The Quadram Institute – working at the forefront of a new interface between food science, gut biology and health
  • The Earlham Institute – Decoding living systems and tackling global challenges through life science research
  • The Sanger Institute – Using genome sequences to advance understanding of the biology of humans and pathogens to improve human health
  • EMBL-EBI – The home of big data in biology
  • The Babraham Institute – Understanding the biology of how our bodies work
  • University of East Anglia – Internationally renowned top-15 University home to 15,000 students
  • City College Norwich – Ambitious college currently constructing £9m Digitech Factory
  • West Suffolk College – Home of the recently opened STEM Innovation Centre offering cutting-edge science facilities
  • University of Cambridge – World-leading University with a plethora of associated research institutions and laboratories
  • Anglia Ruskin University – Cambridge campus is home to a new science centre and ‘super-lab’ for undergraduates

Clockwise from top, The Quadram Institute, University of East Anglia, EMBL-EBI and West Suffolk College's new STEM Innovation Centre

The businesses

The Tech Corridor life science cluster is home to innovative companies developing new therapies and devices. Multi-national giants, ambitious scale-up companies and agile start-ups combine to create a rich, vibrant eco-system.

Our exciting eco-system includes companies such as:

  • Leaf Expression Systems – Using plants to create proteins for use in drug discovery
  • Iceni Diagnostics – Developing a range of carbohydrate-based therapeutics and point-of-care diagnostics for infectious disease
  • Tropic Biosciences – Growing genetically modified, disease-resistant strains of crops like bananas and coffee
  • Glyconics – Building a point-of-care diagnostic test for conditions such as diabetes and COPD
  • Baxter Healthcare – Key manufacturer of products for the NHS and other health services
  • Sanofi – French pharma business employs 300 people at its’ Haverhill manufacturing facility
  • Intelligent Fingerprinting – UEA spin-out now based in Cambridge and pioneering fingerprint-based drug testing
  • AstraZeneca – Global leader in oncology due to move into its new Cambridge headquarters next year
  • Abcam – Leading antibody supplier for life science research
  • Mogrify – Reprogramming damaged human cells so that they can be treated
  • CMR Surgical – Cambridge’s latest billion dollar tech unicorn is developing a next-generation surgical robot

Networks and support organisations

Established in 1997, One Nucleus is an award winning not-for-profit life sciences and healthcare membership organisation. Headquartered in Cambridge, at the heart of Europe’s largest Life Sciences & Healthcare cluster, it supports institutions, companies and individuals undertaking activity in or with the above region.

Through providing the local, UK-wide and international connectivity, One Nucleus seeks to enable members to maximise their performance. In an increasingly outsourced, collaborative and multi-disciplinary sector, bringing the best people together is key to translating great innovation into great products that markedly improve patient outcomes and drive economic development. Attracting and enabling the best people to engage with is at the heart of the One Nucleus team ethos and what the organisation continually strives to deliver.

Health Enterprise East (HEE) believes in improving healthcare through technology and innovation.

It works with the NHS, medical technology industry and government organisations to help turn innovative ideas into products and services that will benefit patients.

HEE’s experienced team offers clients a diverse range of business and innovation management services. Its’ strengths include IP management, technology commercialisation, health economics and strategic market access advice.

Based in Cambridge, HEE works with over 25 NHS organisations nationally and medtech companies globally. Its’ aim is to help our clients address the challenges faced along the product development pathway, connecting them with relevant healthcare experts and funding opportunities.

Eastern Academic Health Science Network is one of 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs) set up to spread innovation at pace and scale across the healthcare system – in order to achieve the ultimate goals of both improving health and generating economic growth.

Established by NHS England in 2013 to spread innovation at pace and scale, AHSNs aim to improve health and generate economic growth.

As the only bodies that connect NHS and academic organisations, local authorities, the third sector and industry, they are catalysts that create the right conditions to facilitate change across whole health and social care economies, with a clear focus on improving outcomes for patients. This means we are uniquely placed to identify and spread health innovation; driving the adoption and spread of innovative ideas and technologies across large populations.

Start Codon leverages the unique resources of the Cambridge cluster to identify, seed-fund and drive the success of truly disruptive healthcare start-ups.

The accelerator programme focuses on supporting highly disruptive, translational innovations created by exceptional teams from across the globe. Only accepting a small number of exceptional applicants onto its’ program, the Start Codon team and partners provide seed funding, intensive coaching, and access to state-of-the-art facilities.

Want to find out more?

You can download our brochure, the Life Science Opportunity, which contains detailed information, maps and statistics about life science in the Tech Corridor. Download it here.

For more information about how the Tech Corridor team can help your life science business, or if you are thinking of moving to the Tech Corridor, get in touch.