The facility will help companies turn light-based technologies into commercially-viable Med-Tech products, supporting about 50 highly-skilled jobs in the process.
Using light to diagnose and treat medical conditions and illnesses, healthcare photonics is a rapidly growing area globally as demand for non-invasive, cost-effective and personalised treatments rises.
Applications include non-contact cancer diagnostics, endoscopic imaging and a variety of laser-based treatments.
The steelwork, shown here reaching high into the sky at NETPark, based in Sedgefield, County Durham, signifies CPI’s latest investment in cutting-edge innovation to support the growth of businesses in the marketplace.
Providing space for people to work across two floors, the facility will include a mixture of specialist optics laboratories, life sciences laboratories and electronic and X‑ray development laboratories, to help companies of all sizes scale-up manufacture of products for the Med-Tech market.
Set to open in the Autumn of 2018, the centre will place the North-East as a global hub for healthcare photonics by breaking down barriers that prevent early research and inventions reaching market.
The new facility is supported by a £8.3m grant from the Local Growth Fund, through the North-East Local Enterprise Partnership, and is being built by Newcastle-based Surgo Construction, with support from Durham City architect Howarth Litchfield.
Dr Tom Harvey, Healthcare Photonics Lead at CPI, said: “Photonics is a key enabling technology for a range of healthcare products related to imaging, diagnostics and therapy.
“This new centre will provide expertise and facilities to help companies bring these products to market more quickly, with less risk and at lower cost, which will ultimately benefit patients.”
Richard Baker, Head of Policy and Strategy at the North-East Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “This is an exciting time for healthcare photonics in Med-Tech.
“We’re thrilled the North-East will be home to an open-access facility of national importance, which will help encourage further innovation, encouraging expertise to grow and new investment into the region.”
A changing landscape
Visit NETPark today and you can’t fail to notice the site’s evolving landscape.
From the new Explorer buildings to improved road access, the science and technology park, opened by then Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2004, is growing rapidly.
Intrinsic to such is CPI and its own expansion.
Once completed, the National Centre for Healthcare Photonics will stand next to CPI’s recently-opened National Formulation Centre — another open-access facility this time helping the formulation sector accelerate innovation.
Formulation involves the creation of multi-component, often multi-phase products, which are abundant across markets such as healthcare, food and drink and personal care.
Home to world-class laboratories and accompanying expertise focusing on measurement, high-throughput formulation, process chemistry, process technology, complex particles, nanomaterials, composites, and chemistry and dispersions, the centre is already playing a key role in guiding companies through the steps needed to take innovative formulated products to market with reduced risk on decisions or capital investment plans.
It is also funded by the North-East Local Enterprise Partnership, as part of the North-East Growth Deal from the UK Government and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.