New lab facility for life science companies to open on Newcastle Helix

A brand-new lab facility is soon to be opening within the heart of Newcastle’s £350m Newcastle Helix urban development scheme.

The Biosphere will provide a home for ambitious companies within life sciences and innovation, research and development. This is all part of the city’s wider commitment to support economic development and growth within the life sciences sector.

The new 90,000 sq. ft purpose-built £25m facility will contain both commercial laboratory and office spaces. As well as satisfying commercial laboratory demand, a conferencing facility for up to 80 people will offer a space for an events programme and for the sector to meet and share knowledge. The building is due for completion late November 2018.

This bespoke commercial offering to life science businesses, underpins Newcastle’s commitment to providing the right infrastructure to allow local businesses to grow as well as attracting inward investment to the city.

Construction of the Biosphere is nearing completion.
Construction of the Biosphere is nearing completion.

Expert delivery and operation

Newcastle City Council is working with a team of experts to deliver this project, utilising and maximising appropriate resource and expertise.

Kier were chosen to build the new facility which was designed by Ryder Architects under the commercial and technical guidance of Cam-Sci, ensuring flexibility and resilience run throughout the building’s design. London-based creative agency Bandstand and Invest Newcastle will both play a role in raising the profile of the facility and in attracting new life sciences businesses to The Biosphere.

Property and Facilities Management Services will be delivered by established building consultancy, Aura North East. They were chosen because of their experience and expertise in managing and designing complex infrastructure projects, such as hospitals and laboratories.

Cllr Ged Bell, Cabinet Member for employment, Newcastle City Council said: “The Biosphere will be a welcome addition to Newcastle Helix’s property portfolio and provide much needed laboratory space in the city.

“It will play a vital role in the economic development of our city and help us to build on our reputation for life sciences; enabling this sector to grow.

"Newcastle is at the forefront of science and innovation and what makes The Biosphere unique is that businesses will have the opportunity to connect with researchers, academics and industry leaders. This will help them to innovate and create a pipeline of talent that will take them forward into the future.”

James Marshall, Project Manager at Aura North East said: “We are excited to be part of such an ambitious project that aims to bring long-term investment, jobs and prosperity to the North East. Aura has been involved in the Biosphere project from its inception at the design stage and through construction. We share the city’s ambition for innovation, collaboration and growth within the life sciences sector.”

Catherine Walker, Inward Investment Director, Invest Newcastle said: “This is such an exciting time for the life sciences sector. The Biosphere has already proven popular, not only because of its technical specification, but because of the community that surrounds its base. We are delighted to be part of the strategic team that is helping to drive this project forward.”

The Biosphere has secured significant funding through the current European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and North East Local Growth Fund (LGF) programmes, which help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.

The Helix Ecosystem

Not only is The Biosphere nearing completion, work has also started on The Lumen, a new office building aimed at scientific and tech businesses. Construction is also well underway for a new Learning and Teaching Centre and a National Innovation Building that will be home to National Innovation Centres for both Ageing and Data.

Onsite neighbours already include The Core where knowledge-based science and technology SMEs are based, and the Newcastle University’s award-winning Urban Sciences Building. The Biosphere will complement this network and strengthen Newcastle’s reputation for life sciences.

Newcastle Helix brings together industry leaders, businesses and top researchers in an innovation community. It is a partnership between Newcastle City Council, Newcastle University and Legal & General to create more than 4,000 jobs, half a million square feet of office space and 450 new homes.

Editor's notes - About the Biosphere

Find out more about the Biosphere on the Helix website.

The Biosphere has received circa £4.5m from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit

The Biosphere is part funded by the North East Local Growth Fund from HM Government, administered by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership. The North East LEP works to make the North East a place where more businesses invest, grow and prosper. For more information visit

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