BioWales 2013 was the most successful yet with some 500 delegates enjoying a line-up of international speakers in a commercially focused conference that highlighted the links between NHS, industry and academia in delivering tomorrow’s health solutions. There was also an extensive exhibition, a successful brokerage with some 500 meetings taking place to engender business collaborations, and a gala dinner in the magnificent Wales Millennium Centre.
BioWales 2013 also provided the platform for some significant announcements in Life Sciences in Wales. Business Minister Edwina Hart confirmed the Welsh Government’s Life Sciences Hub - a ‘national and international focal point and nerve centre for the sector in Wales’ - will be located in Cardiff Bay close to the Senedd, and operational later this year. Prof. Chris McGuigan of Cardiff University has been asked to chair a task and finish group to oversee the launch of the hub.
Delegates to BioWales 2013 heard that the £100m Wales Life Sciences Investment Fund is now up and running. The fund, which is being supported with £50m from the Welsh Government with additional private sector investment envisaged to take the fund to at least £100m, is being managed by new firm Arthurian Life Sciences – chaired by Port Talbot-born serial biotech entrepreneur and investor Prof. Sir Chris Evans, who has relinquished his place as chair of the Welsh Government’s Life Sciences Sector Panel to his deputy, Prof. Gareth Morgan.
Sir Chris has drawn together a board of experienced life sciences investors with a proven track record of success at a UK and global level that includes former Director-General of the CBI, Sir John Banham, former Cabinet Minister Lord Hutton and Jeremy Curnock Cook, managing director of Bioscience Managers and the former head of the Life Science private equity team at Rothschild Asset Management .
There was news of the new £4m Welsh Wound Innovation Centre, aimed at delivering health and wealth benefits for the people of Wales, and of the establishment of Health Research Wales, which will provide a one-stop source of information and support for companies wishing to undertake clinical research in Wales.
The conference also heard how the Life Sciences sector in Wales is to link with one of Europe’s strongest biotech clusters, after a memorandum of understanding was agreed between the Welsh Government and Medicon Village, a dynamic hub for research, innovation and entrepreneurship within Life Science in Lund, Sweden.
We’ve started planning for 2014 already, keep an eye on www.biowales.com for details.