Inverness Campus is one of the key life sciences centres in the region, which has seen the number of life sciences organisations double from 40 to 80 in just nine years. This is a trend that is set to increase.
Inverness is the capital of the Highlands and Islands region which covers just over half of Scotland and its geography includes inhabited islands and rural coastal settlements. With advances in digital technology, this geography is creating new opportunities across all parts of the region.
More and more organisations are recognising and taking up these opportunities in the region’s life sciences growth, from multi-national businesses to start-up companies, as well as internationally recognised academia and pioneering healthcare providers.
James Cameron is head of life sciences and health at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), the Scottish Government’s economic and community development agency. HIE has made life sciences one of its key priorities. Cameron attributes much of the sector’s growth in the region to the excellent strengths and emerging opportunities in digital health and wellbeing.
“Advances in digital healthcare are enabling new projects and services to be delivered for rural communities”, he explains. “We are seeing many remarkable examples. One is a company using a camera capsule, which is swallowed by medical patients to investigate the lower gastrointestinal tract. This avoids the need for them to travel long distances for diagnosis.”
The organisation behind this initiative is Danish owned Corporate Health International. CHI is investing £5.7m in establishing a diagnostics centre in Inverness, and its technology is already being used in rural locations across the region.
Located at Inverness Campus, the company received support from HIE to set up its UK base and become a provider to the National Health Service, as well as financial support to help it develop in the region.
CHI UK co-founder, Dr Hagen Wenzek, praised the region’s progressive approach. “The Highlands and Islands region has proven to be a fertile environment for service innovation”, he said. “It is receptive to solutions that serve patients better as well as having a welcoming pool of knowledge and expertise, and, thanks to the partnership with HIE, we are confident that planting our UK operations in that environment will grow CorporateHealth as expected.”
Inverness Campus itself is one of Scotland’s most innovative projects.
Its development is led by HIE with an emphasis on life sciences and technology, collaboration between business, academia and research, and deriving benefits for the wider region.
The Campus opened in 2015 and is already the base for over 900 employees, working across several organisations. It includes a strong research and development (R&D) presence with academics and companies working in digital health technology, disease management and animal health.
The site offers a high quality, vibrant location for innovation and business development, with excellent collaboration opportunities with three of Scotland’s universities. Purpose-built life sciences and technology buildings offer office and laboratory space that can be fitted out to companies’ individual requirements.
All of this is adjacent to a large teaching hospital, the innovative Centre for Health Science and Lifescan Scotland; a company that arrived in the region 20 years ago as Inverness Medical, and has since grown into LifeScan Scotland, one of the country’s largest life sciences employers with a workforce of around 1,000.
HIE works with growing businesses across the life sciences sector to capitalise on both digital advancements and investments in key infrastructure projects, including Inverness Campus.
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