Chief Executive Officer, Life Sciences Hub Wales
The future is bright for those working within life sciences innovation in Wales. Start-ups through to global organisations are using Wales as their base to improve health and economic outcomes.
It is an exciting time to be in life sciences, where innovators can help transform economies, health and social care systems and overall quality of life. Governments, health and social systems and private companies are thinking big, whether advancing emerging fields like precision medicine to improve patient outcomes or transforming systems to meet our evolving needs.
Leaders across the UK are now planning to implement this vision in the long term. This includes Wales, where our bold approach to innovation is rapidly unlocking its applications.
Innovating in health and social care can be difficult; fragmented services, complex processes and limited resources are challenging. In Wales, our political, health and social care systems can help overcome such hurdles. We are small and agile enough for easy navigation, but impactful enough with our economic ecosystem. Our joined-up services also provide system-wide access from primary care, hospitals and out in the community. The business-friendly environment, highly skilled workforce and renowned life sciences academic landscape also provides opportunities for funding, research and partnerships.
Leading the way
We have long welcomed global organisations to base themselves here and undertake pioneering work in our health and social care systems, which our organisation, Life Sciences Hub Wales, has supported on.
Our understanding of both life sciences and healthcare helps to accelerate patient access to innovation.
Pfizer is undertaking pioneering value-based health care (VBHC) work in Wales, focussing on creating and delivering sustainable care solutions with the greatest value to those receiving them. They are working closely with partners like Swansea University to develop and deploy solutions. Emma Clifton-Brown, Head of Health and Value at Pfizer, says: “Pfizer is proud to work in Wales for our ambitious strategy to embed value-based health care worldwide. Wales’ supportive policy agenda, innovation appetite and available funding make it an ideal location for us to co-create transformative solutions.”
Investing in Wales
Wales is also supporting the global COVID-19 response. Multinational life sciences organisation, Cytiva, is investing £36 million in a new strategic Cardiff site, producing critical components to make biopharmaceuticals such as vaccines.
Another global organisation working in Wales is Zimmer Biomet, whose Bridgend site supplies orthopaedic products worldwide. Ruth Griffiths, Associate Director at Zimmer Biomet, says: “We are proud to be in Wales with its history of engineering excellence and have drawn on its skilled and experienced workforce to establish one of our most important global manufacturing centres. Our partnership with the Welsh Government has allowed access to funding opportunities that have strengthened our base; supporting the expansion and offering significant employment opportunities to locals.”
Grounding your innovation in robust data helps progress projects. Wales is home to the SAIL databank, which provides secure access to anonymised and extensive health and population datasets, and has attracted partnerships with leading national and international life sciences and healthcare organisations.
Life Sciences Hub Wales supports local, national and global innovators wanting to benefit from our life sciences landscape. We work closely with health and social care colleagues to better understand the challenges they face, then support the industry to address them.
Our understanding of both life sciences and healthcare helps to accelerate patient access to innovation. With the support of the Welsh Government, we are working with national and international partners like the Academic Health Science Networks and NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative to achieve this.
We support a whole-system approach to innovation in Wales and can help put organisations in touch with the right people across multiple sectors.