The Durham Genome Center in Lanchester, Co. Durham, has been created with the express aim of delivering economic advantage by businesses to exploit the latest technology in DNA science.
The building, which has previously served as Lanchester police station and a doctors' surgery, has been converted to house high specification laboratories, all of which are equipped for the latest genomic and biomarker analyses and are capable of competing on the international stage.
Privately funded by Louise Allcroft and Neil Sullivan, The Durham Genome Centre supports the development of biotechnology companies and their supply chains, with both office and laboratory accommodation and a range of services, including access to capital equipment.
Director Dr Neil Sullivan said: " The burgeoning areas of genomics and biomarkers are predicted to transform diagnostics and therapeutics in both humans and animals for decades to come. Therefore, opening the centre was a way of not only being able to invest in our own premises, it will also allow us to expand opportunities and job prospects within biotechnology in the North East.
"One of the key barriers to the development of genomics and biomarker companies is the high cost of capital equipment so by utilising our state of the art facilities, we can help companies gain the initial data they need to raise funding and to develop their markets."
The premises have the capacity to house five businesses, with tenants enjoying access to expert staff, as well as the latest technology and equipment available.
Dr Sullivan said: "The addressable market in genotyping is predicted to grow at 22.5% per annum to 2020, to reach around £13bn and for biomarkers the annual growth rate of 14% may lead to a market of around £34bn by 2020. These areas are a major opportunity to create value."
Leading DNA testing company, Complement Genomics Ltd, is the anchor tenant and has expanded its business in paternity and biological relationship testing, for both consumers and the legal profession. Since being in the Centre, the company has launched a drug and alcohol testing service and has several new areas under development.
Click below for more regional business news