Citylabs: A World Leading Digital and Precision Medicine Hub

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Citylabs: A World Leading Digital and Precision Medicine Hub

This morning at MIPIM, we heard from Rowena Burns, Chairman of MSP and Executive Chair of Health Innovation Manchester, as she spoke about the future of healthcare in Manchester. As the only city region in Europe with a devolved healthcare deal, Greater Manchester has the responsibility to provide the blueprint for future healthcare delivery, demonstrating what the power of collaboration can achieve, through the £6 billion health and social care budget to provide care for its three million citizens.  

As people live longer and live more sedentary lives, healthcare budgets are being stretched. Demand is escalating as traditional medicines increasingly fail against the rise of antimicrobial resistance. This is intensified by an international lack of health innovation. However, Manchester has the prerequisites to meet this challenge, and deploy its funding effectively.

With Europe’s largest and most developed clinical academic campus, Manchester brings together the UK’s largest NHS provider trust, two of the UK’s leading universities and a host of industry partners drawn by ready access to talent, a diverse patient base and world-class facilities.

The University of Manchester and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), both shareholders in Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP), are integral to Manchester’s opportunity. Four thousand of Manchester’s university students graduate in science and engineering each year.

To ensure Manchester can address the challenges, and maximise the opportunity of healthcare devolution, a new strategic body, Health Innovation Manchester has been formed. This body brings together academic, clinical and commercial institutions in Greater Manchester, to ensure cutting-edge research and new product innovation makes it from the lab, to patients, and to the wider market at an accelerated pace, and is adopted at scale. This joined up approach is driving growth in medical technology and ensuring Manchester cements its position as the destination of choice for innovative healthcare companies, particularly in precision medicine and data analytics.

MSP has worked with customers and partners to identify new ways of collaborative working between industry, academia and clinicians, and created “Citylabs”. This unique joint venture partnership between MFT and MSP offers businesses direct access to like-minded collaborators, specialist clinical resources and expertise from researchers, clinicians and procurement teams based within MFT’s hospitals.

Following a £25m investment, Citylabs 1.0 opened in 2014 and is now home to a cluster of around 20 businesses, ranging from an early-stage clinical trials company to a global medical diagnostics company. With proven success in the business model, and national demand for a data analytics and precision medicine hub, MSP announced in 2016 plans to build Citylabs 2.0 and 3.0; an infrastructure project of vital civic importance building on the successful model of Citylabs 1.0.

Tom Renn, Managing Director at MSP, announced at MIPIM today that an initial loan of £18.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund’s Evergreen Fund 2 has been approved to move forward with the next phase of the Citylabs campus. Commencing construction in Autumn 2018, practical completion is expected Spring 2020. Working with Sheppard Robson, the expansion will provide an additional 220,000 sq ft of state-of-the-art lab and office space.

Citylabs 2.0 and 3.0 will create an environment to maximise collaboration for innovation to develop, and valuable partnerships to form. Consistent with MSP’s continued focus of delivering community centred designed spaces, which work across organisational and functional boundaries, the development will champion people and place above bricks and mortar.

Alongside lab and commercial areas, there are plans for a 200-capacity event space, three retail units, coffee shop, and dining establishment for customers, employees, patients and visitors.

Together, Citylabs 2.0 and Citylabs 3.0 represent £60m investment, supporting the creation of over 1,000 jobs. Once complete and fully occupied, it is estimated that the expansion will bring additional economic growth to the city in excess of £100m.

Manchester has a once-in-a generation opportunity to address some of the fundamental challenges global healthcare is facing. As we enter the next phase in this development, the Citylabs campus will continue to set the standard for world-leading research, development and commercial partnerships in precision medicine and data analytics.]