North East Connected

Private Investor Sought

Private investors sought to lead expansion of Newcastle’s life-sciences success story

Huge demand for commercial lab and office space at Newcastle’s Biosphere means private sector investment is now being sought to take the lead on expanding the heart of the north east’s £1.7bn life science eco-system.

Located at Newcastle Helix, The Biosphere launched in 2019 as a publicly funded project, led by Newcastle City Council; it represented a significant investment for the local economy and showed a clear commitment to life sciences growth.

Potential investors from across the world will have the opportunity to find out more when Invest Newcastle (part of NewcastleGateshead Initiative) lead a delegation to MIPIM, one of the world’s largest real estate events, which takes place (15-18 March) in the city of Cannes.

A specialist lab facility tailored to commercialisation of life sciences, providing biology and chemistry laboratories and high-quality office space, the Biosphere is now home to more than 25 dynamic and innovative life science businesses.

Cllr Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council said:

“Almost three years on from its opening, the Biosphere is a widely recognised success story and quite simply, there is currently more demand for lab space at the Biosphere than can be accommodated. It will be encouraging for any potential investor to know that a strong pipeline made up of existing businesses wanting to grow, alongside inward investors looking for city centre commercial lab and office space, has already been identified.

“The health and life science cluster is a big employer in the city and a key part of the future economy of Newcastle city centre; we’re ambitious, and looking for a private investor to share the ambition to be a leading international location for innovation in the sector.”

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) is providing funding for Newcastle City Council, to develop a business case that will go to market later this year. With the support of NewcastleGateshead Initiative and Invest Newcastle the aim is to secure a private sector investor to lead the project and create further city centre commercial lab and office space for spinouts, start-ups, growing and established companies to complement the provision already in place.

Andrew Moffat CBE, Chair of the Investment Board at the North East LEP, said:

“The health and life sciences sector in the North East is a major growth area for our economy, and through the delivery of the North East Health, Life Sciences and Medicines Manufacturing Strategy, we hope to double the number of jobs and double the number of businesses active in the sector by 2030.

“The success of the first Biosphere building, which received £8.6m from the North East LEP’s Local Growth Fund, can give investors’ confidence that demand exists in our region for more world-class facilities that enable innovative start-ups to scaleup and grow.

“The North East LEP continues to invest in the region’s health and life science sector, and we’re pleased to support Newcastle City Council’s bid to expand The Biosphere.”

Jen Hartley is Director at Invest Newcastle:

“There is already huge interest in the North East as a leading UK location in which to invest, develop or locate, and our time at MIPIM will be spent talking with influential investment and real estate delegates from across the world about opportunities that exist in Newcastle, and at the same continuing to promote the wider region and its strengths.

“The Biosphere has created jobs, supported graduate retention and further enhanced our global reputation as a hotspot for life science businesses. Securing private investment will be critical to the growth of the sector,” she said.

The North East of England’s regional life science eco-system employs around 7,000 professionals in almost 200 companies, who operate globally from the region. Pioneers in pre-clinical research, diagnostics, rare diseases, and healthy longevity, with forward-thinking companies leverage leading research and development support from the city’s world-leading universities and outstanding NHS Trust.

The sector is strong and has seen huge growth in recent years and the strength of the ecosystem led Pfizer to open its first UK INSPIRE site in partnership with Newcastle University, a global Top 100 university for life sciences and medicine.

Luke Dunnett, Property Manager at The Biosphere said:

“The undoubted success Biosphere has had means the spotlight is on the city as a location where life sciences organisations can thrive and grow.”

Invest Newcastle support businesses to locate and grow in the North of Tyne, supporting the creation of jobs and the growth of key sectors, including life sciences. In January 2022 alone Invest Newcastle, who are part of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, has helped bring more than 300 jobs to the region.

To find out more about the Biosphere visit


Photo caption:

The Biosphere – at the heart of the north east’s £1.7bn life science eco-system


For further information contact: Paul Keenan, Communications and PR Manager, Invest Newcastle.

T: +44 (0)191 424 5784

M: 07925 277 154


Notes to editors:


About the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)


This project has received funding from the Project Development Accelerator Fund that supports the economic growth and regeneration of the North East LEP region.


The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a public, private, and education sector partnership that covers Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, and Sunderland local authority areas. The £270.4m Local Growth Fund, secured as part of the North East Growth Deal, supports the North East LEP’s delivery of the Strategic Economic Plan, which aims to create 100,000 more and better jobs by 2024.

About the Local Growth Fund


Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone. That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders. Analysis has shown that every £1 of Local Growth Fund invested could generate £4.81 in benefits.

About the Biosphere

The Biosphere is a purpose-built laboratory facility on Newcastle Helix dedicated to the commercialisation of life sciences. It provides biology and chemistry laboratories and high-quality office space. For more information visit The Biosphere (


About NewcastleGateshead Initiative

NGI is a destination and inward investment agency that delivers for Newcastle, Gateshead, and the wider region. Every single one of our projects are dedicated to making a lasting social and economic impact. As drivers and enablers of economic growth, we champion our offer on a world stage and we maximise our impact through our partnerships.

We engage with stakeholders and policy makers to influence on a national and regional level to benefit the people who live and work here. We promote the distinctiveness of our region, its culture, and its people to create an authentic voice that makes us stand out from the crowd. We work across key growth sectors and use insight and intelligence to drive innovation, inward investment, and business growth. In addition, we attract world class conferences that reinforce our sector strengths and the strategic importance of tourism.

We play our part in delivering the regions sustainable and inclusive ambitions, creating a world class distinctive city to enjoy, stay and invest. We exist to benefit people by making a better and more distinctive place to live, enjoy, stay, and invest.


About Invest Newcastle 

Part of NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Invest Newcastle drive and deliver economic growth in Newcastle and Gateshead. They secure capital investment, work to attract new businesses, and create jobs. They help businesses to locate, expand and thrive through a bespoke range of services. They champion the region and its strengths on a national and international stage, promoting Newcastle as a city to collaborate, innovate and thrive. Since it was established in 2013, it has supported more than 200 new businesses to relocate or expand, helping to create and safeguard more than 11,000 jobs.

To find out more about the Biosphere visit 

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