Home to two UK catapult centres, three national innovation centres and one of the country’s leading AIM listed tech companies, The North East Technology Park (NETPark) really is a thriving hub of innovation making an impact on a global scale.

Since opening nearly sixteen years ago, NETPark has quickly become one of the UK’s leading science, engineering and technology parks. It’s open spaces and green landscapes give a real campus feel that inspires a collaborative and innovative culture. An atmosphere that inspires collaborative research & development projects led by international organisations, world class universities and serial entrepreneurs.

Earlier this year the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) published The Power of Place report written help to shape Government policy on research and development (R&D) feeding into the Government’s ‘levelling up’ and R&D agenda. The report highlighted NETPark and Business Durham as an excellent example of local leadership bringing great benefits to the local economy.

Since its inception NETPark has established close working relationships with CPI, who have three national innovations centres on the park and Durham University, a world top 100 university.

BioScience at NETPark

NETPark is already home to a numerous bio-science companies working tirelessly to develop products that will improve the lives of people across the globe. Never more so than during the coronavirus pandemic where a number of bio-science companies based at NETPark have risen to the challenge.

Drug discovery company ReViral, known for work on a treatment for Respiratory Syncytial Virus which affects children and the elderly, has set up a not-for-profit business called Collaborative Company Against Coronavirus, CIC. Working with a world-leading anti-viral team at the University of Leuven, in Belgium, the newly formed company says its work could identify effective inhibitors of coronavirus and other strains of the illness within two years.

Dr Stuart Cockerill, chief scientific advisor at ReViral, said: “We love it at NETPark. It’s a great location and a good site being among other companies such as the CPI. It’s clean and a safe site.”

REPROCELL Europe, which works in stem cell and 3D cell culture research, joined a consortium with partners in North America and Europe to develop a vaccine for the virus.

One of NETPark first tenants and Durham University spin-out, AIM listed Kromek Group, is working on the development of a mobile pathogen detection system, to detect biological threats, such as COVID-19.

NETPark Manager Janet Todd said: “It’s great to see companies on NETPark adapt and use their knowledge and experience to tackle the challenges COVID-19 brings. In fact, we have seen an increase in occupancy during 2020 demonstrating we have the infrastructure, support networks and collaborative environment that companies working in this space thrive upon.”

One of those new tenants is another Durham University spin-out, Specialist C. elegans CRO company Magnitude-Biosciences, a highly innovative bio-science company delivering services in the growing area of research and development in ageing, neurodegeneration, microbiome and toxicity.

Independent research and development company High Force Research Ltd made the move to NETPark in 2019 as they look to grow from its current 34 employees to 40. The company, established in 1988, is a chemical development partner for some of the world’s most innovative companies and is involved in many R&D projects, including scaling up processes to supply APIs  (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) made to cGMP (current Good Manufacturing Practice) standards for early clinical trials.  Its main areas of business are in the Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and Fine Chemical industries.

Janet continues: “The park is ideal for this type of university spin out company, where the group will be able to benefit from the facilities, support and networks as they move to the next stage of their development.”

Significant investment over recent years means NETPark is able to offer 120,000 sq ft of high-spec laboratory, office and clean room space including over 43,000 sq. ft of dedicated incubation space in NETPark Plexus helping to accelerate the success of knowledge-based companies into global markets.

Growing businesses will find no shortage of room to grow at NETPark. Buildings include Discovery 1 & 2 as well as the most recent additions on-site NETPark Explorer 1 & 2 offering grow-on spaces for graduating incubation companies and established businesses alike.

For companies looking to develop bespoke premises NETPark phase three provides 26 acres of land for development of bespoke premises perfect for businesses that need larger space to prototype, scale-up and manufacture on site.

Add to this vibrant community the North East Satellite Applications Catapult, helping companies solve problems and open up opportunities using satellite data and technology, and you have NETPark, the North East’s leading science park, looking ahead to a positive future.

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