Newcastle Helix shines a light on the future

A symbol of light has been unveiled on Newcastle Helix. The recently opened Lumen building has had a ‘Halo’ installed across the top of the building, that can be seen for miles across the city.

To coincide with the switching on of the Halo, the property management team got into the festive spirit, with Christmas jumpers and Santa joining them to spread some Christmas cheer. This new Halo marks the end of a challenging year and celebrates community spirit, resilience and hope for the future.

This year has been a time of uncertainty, but Newcastle Helix and its vision to help people live smarter and healthier lives has shone through. Businesses, researchers, and scientists have been collaborating to support the global fight against COVID and we have seen continued investment, growth, jobs, and innovation. We would like to take some time to reflect on 2020 and highlight the achievements of our Newcastle Helix community.

One of the highlights of this year included the virtual opening of The Lumen building in March. Since it opened its virtual doors, international real estate advisor Savills and Homes England have announced their move into the building and more recently it has become a home to a specialist innovation lab, tailored to develop new approaches for the next stage of COVID science and beyond. This is part of the multi-million pound regional 'Lighthouse Lab’ that is creating 1,100 jobs across the region and will greatly increase the region’s capacity to carry out more Covid tests. They continue to gain significant interest from potential new occupiers, who are not only impressed with the quality of the design and build, but the unique eco-system that surrounds its base.

Construction work on The Spark, a second landmark office space, for established and new businesses is well underway and approval for 66 affordable sustainable homes built to suit all generations was given the go ahead. Earlier in the year we also saw plans announced for a new 160-bed boutique hotel, yet another investment milestone for Newcastle Helix.

The Biosphere is continuing to gain significant interest with AMLo Biosciences and 3D Bio-Tissues moving in earlier this year, both developing ground-breaking health tech products which will change the health care sector, such as AMLo’s prognostic melanoma test. AMBLor® detects metastatic potential amongst early-stage skin cancers. The test will help guide patients’ therapy and could save 2,000 lives in the UK alone, every year.

There are several life science businesses based in The Biosphere who are adapting and innovating using their existing research and development expertise to support the fight against COVID-19. This year, Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency awarded ExplantLab, Atelerix and Alcyomics a share of the £40million government investment that was awarded to 800 applicants across the UK who look to fast-track the development of research, innovations, and ideas bourne out of the pandemic.

Over in The Core, several of their tenants have been expanding and securing investment. Caspian who specialises in Automated Anti-Money Laundering (AML) investigation technology were one of the first businesses to move into The Core and are accelerating their global operations following investment from Nasdaq Ventures and renewable energy provider Green has created nearly 100 jobs this year, with around 60 of them being created during lockdown. This is testament to Newcastle Helix as a place to locate and grow a business.

Located in The Catalyst Building, the National Innovation Centre for Ageing has also embarked on several new partnerships, that bring together data driven insight and human experiences to bring new products and services to market that help people age well. One example includes working with Breathe Happy, an online yoga and wellbeing platform and researchers at Newcastle University to design and deliver a personalised, remote wellbeing program, leveraging computer vision and cutting-edge emotional AI testing tools. This project was awarded 272,904 from Innovate UK, the UK’s Innovation Agency and will help build emotional and physical resilience in older adults who have been adversely affected by COVID.

The National Innovation Centre for Data, who are also based in the Catalyst has been awarded £1.63m in funding from the North of Tyne Combined Authority. This will enable more than 200 companies in Newcastle, North Tyneside, and Northumberland to gain the skills they need to obtain insight from their data, enabling them to innovate, creating cost efficiencies or new products and services, thereby increasing wealth and generating jobs for the region.

They also have been supporting Connected Energy, who are based in The Core with their growth plans, embedding new data skills and models of delivery help them to scale overseas and optimise outputs.

These are just some examples of how the Newcastle Helix eco-system is driving collaboration and helping people live smarter, healthier, longer lives.

Despite a challenging year, Newcastle Helix has continued to position our region as a test bed for new innovations. It is helping to build our economy around world-leading academic research in fields such as healthy ageing, sustainability, data, and life science and this will play an instrumental role in our post Covid-19 recovery, creating jobs for local people. Its strengths and continued investment will help take our city forward into the future and we are so proud of all of the businesses, researchers and people who have played their part.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year.

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