By the end of 2013 the United Kingdom had risen to 4th position in the league table of the World’s most attractive renewable energy markets – and the North East of England is at the forefront.

Boosting strong positions in all phases of the invention, innovation, development, engineering and operations supply chain, the region has long had a vision of being an internationally significant hub for bioresources and renewables.

The region possesses process industry businesses that are continuously improving their operations; large companies investing in new bio and waste based technologies and SMEs developing new technology and investing in production plant.

This is coupled with engineering consulting businesses that design and build plants both in the region and across the world; nationally and internationally significant innovation facilities for industrial biotechnology, anaerobic reactions and high temperature processes and a strong university research base.

It is these such facilities, teamed with outstanding utilities and infrastructure and an extremely strong skills base, that ensure North East England is a key location for all aspects of the development of a lower carbon economy, greener and more sustainable chemicals, energy and processing sector.

For more information regarding Renewables and Bioresources – including the companies operating and investing here and the future technological developments taking place, please visit www.nebr.co.uk

Within North East England the Fine & Speciality chemical sector is an important player on the world stage with companies such as Akzo–International Paints, Aesica, Banner Chemicals, Chemoxy International, Exwold Technologies, Fine Organics, Frutarom, Thomas Swan, High Force Research, Johnson Matthey Catalysts, Kilfrost, Mitsubishi Chemicals, Newchem, Onyx Scientific, Piramal, Shasun, & Vertellus – all located here and all making a wide selection of materials using an extensive range of chemical technologies.

Fine & Speciality Chemical companies are relied upon to provide either fine chemicals which are very pure, specific molecules or effect chemicals, known as specialities. Fine Chemicals, as mentioned are usually very pure specific molecules made to a very high specification that are the building blocks for pharmaceuticals, agrochemicals and in many other regulated or more controlled substances. Effect chemical deal with day-to-day societal demands and include adhesives & anti-freeze, flavour & fragrances, lubricants, paints & water treatment chemicals to name but a few.

Some Commodity Specialities are also made in this region such as PET by Lotte Chemicals, Perspex by Lucite International and Titanium Dioxide and polyurethane intermediates by Huntsman. A number of new technologies that are only just appearing on the market are also being developed here such as graphene applications by Applied Graphene Materials, polylactic acid polymers by Plaxica, printable electronics by Polyphotonics and new water treatment technologies by CatalySystems.

The influence of these companies on our day-to-day lives cannot be over-estimated and it is amazing to see the range of influence that their products have on everyday living. Just one medium sized company such as Thomas Swan lists Thixotropic additives – for use in resin manufacture; Biocides – for use in healthcare products plus leather, wood and paper; Powder coatings – curing agents for high-gloss and gloss reduction effects; Personal care materials- dyes for hair care and biocides; Ink resins for flexographic and gravure printing; Reprographics – compounds and couplers used in printed circuit manufacture and Rubber Chemicals – peptisers, latex thickening agents and bonding agents and much more!

Without these innovative companies whole industries could not deliver the products that consumers demand and the world would a far less comfortable and exciting place to live.

Biotechnology is used extensively across North East England with a number of applications across drug discovery, pharmaceutical production, diagnostics and industrial biotechnology. The North East region as a whole is home to 92 life science companies (operating in R&D or manufacturing) and another 99 companies within the supply chain.

The region is particularly strong in biopharmaceutical process development and manufacturing with the world leading contract manufacturer, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, located in Billingham. This company develops processes and has manufacturing capacity for both microbial and mammalian expression systems and has one of the world’s most advanced disposable manufacturing suites. Supporting such manufacturing, the region boasts three multinational suppliers into this industry, namely Merck-Millipore (chromatography media), ThermoFisher Scientific (disposable manufacturing equipment) and Parker domnick-hunter (sterile filtration and DSP equipment). The North East is now also home to CPI’s new Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Centre in Darlington. This will be at the forefront of developing new processes for the production of future biopharmaceuticals.

There are a number of smaller companies that utilise biotechnology to support the pharmaceutical industry, either with specialist reagents or with drug discovery. Specialist reagents are developed and supplied by Cambridge Research Biochemicals (peptides and antibodies) to academic groups and pharmaceutical companies across the world. Building on the world leading expertise at Newcastle’s International Centre for Life in Embryonic Stem Cell research, a new company, Newcells, is now supplying pharmaceutical companies with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) which allow the acceleration of the drug discovery process. Also exploiting Newcastle University’s cell biology expertise is Alcyomics which supplies the pharmaceutical industry with specialist skin constructs to predict immunogenicity with greater accuracy than animal models. Another Newcastle company, Glythera, supplies pharmaceutical companies with advanced linker technology for the development of the fast growing Antibody Directed Cytotoxic (ADCs) class of biopharmaceuticals. In addition to these suppliers of cutting edge technology, there are a number of companies using advanced biotechnology and operating in the drug discovery space. These include Demuris (anti-infectives), Shield Therapeutics (Secondary-care focused drugs), E-therapeutics (in-silico discovery), Ariad (Oncology).

The North East is also home to a number of engineering companies with expertise in bioprocess facility construction. One that is growing rapidly is WH Partnership which builds bioprocess facilities, including clean rooms, at its Gateshead Technical Centre in modular form for assembly, locally, around the world.

Our region is also particularly rich in diagnostics companies with multinational presence in terms of Leica Microsystems and Immuno Diagnostic Systems (IDS). There is also Orla Protein Technologies, a Newcastle University spin out, and its associated company OJ Bio, a JV with a major Japanese electronics company. Other notable companies include QuantumDx, which is developing a hand held diagnostic device based on miniaturised DNA sequencing technology. Hart Biologicals is also developing a global reputation for the supply of biochemical reagents for blood coagulation diagnosis. Absolute Antibody has recently moved to the Wilton Centre from Oxford to set up their manufacturing operations making high quality antibodies for diagnostic customers. We also have specialist consultants in the region such as Ithaka Life Sciences specialising in the commercial exploitation of biotechnology.

There are a number of companies exploiting Industrial Biotechnology, or biotransformation in the region. The Indian company Piramal have their global IB process development centre located in the Wilton Centre. Piramal and Shasun Pharma Solutions in Northumberland utilise a number of biotransformation unit operations in their API manufacturing processes. Fine Industries are amongst a number of regional chemical companies utilise IB for fine chemical unit operations. Biotechnology is also being applied to manufacture polymers by Plaxica and functional resins by Cambridge Biopolymers. Also in Northumberland, Prozomics uses advanced high-throughput genome-mining technology to produce novel and highly active enzymes for a wide variety of industries.

The manufactures of Quorn the food protein, Marlow Foods, originated here and still operates in this region. Northumbrian Water have invested into two large scale anaerobic digestion facilities to recover energy from their domestic and industrial waste water streams and in Stockton on Tees Cleveland Biotechnology has been pioneering enzymatic solutions to handling effluents and waste materials

Multinational, INVISTA operates its biotechnology capability out of a research and development lab in the Wilton Centre, developing biological routes to its products and feedstocks. Also in the Wilton Centre is CPI’s National Industrial Biotechnology facility offering scale up facilities for biotech process development. Californian company, Calysta has recently opened a major manufacturing facility at CPI to produce a sustainable fish feed ingredient utilising novel gas fermentation technology.

Members of NEPIC are also focusing on development of bio-refinery concepts which impact on fine and bulk chemicals, pharmaceuticals, dyes, solvents, plastics, vitamins, food additives, agrochemicals and bio-fuels such as bio-ethanol and bio-diesel. Large scale biofuels plants are already operating on Teesside by Ensus and Harvest Energy, while Greenery operate a biofuel blending facility. GrowHow are capturing carbon dioxide from their ammonia based fertilizer business and this is being used to aid the growing of tomatoes in an industrial market garden on Teesside.

Polymers were first manufactured on Teesside at the Wilton Site and to this day we still find many polymers and polymer intermediates produced here.

The Wilton site is dominated by SABIC’s huge £300 million investment into Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), the largest such plant in the world that has turned the UK into a net exporter of the material. Polyethylene terephalate – or PET as it is known – is also manufactured on the very large scale on the site by the Korean owned Lotte Chemical UK.

Next door, one of the newer innovations in global recycling is taking place, where the patented technology enables the now owner, Biffa Polymers, to provide 17 per cent of the polymer used in UK milk bottles as a recycled material.

Elsewhere on Teesside, Ineos Nitriles make the raw materials for Nylon and manufactures PVC polymer. Lucite International, now part of the Mitsubishi Group, are the biggest producers in the world of MMA (methyl-methacrylate), the precursor of Perspex Acrylics, which again was first manufactured here in North East England. MMA is the driving force behind the global Perspex brand.

Meanwhile, DuPont Tejin Films, who make specialist materials such as cling film and electronic tapes, still have a major R&D activity here. In the speciality polymer area, the very hard and useful engineering polymer PEEK is manufactured by Victrex at Seal Sands.

It is not surprising therefore that many of the above high-tech manufacturing facilities and the R&D teams that underpin them, are working from the Wilton Centre in Redcar. Here they are generating new materials and processes for the plastic electronic sector, which are finding applications as flexible television and monitor screens, printed circuits, photovoltaic cells and leading edge lighting equipment.

Many of these companies are collaborating in these new technology areas with the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), who can support developments in new polymers through the National Industrial Biotechnology and Sustainable Process units, which house scale up equipment to enable company’s trial their new products and processes. CPI also manages the National Plastic Electronic Centre in Sedgefield, where many new product innovations are taking place.

North East England boasts a thriving pharmaceutical sector and is referred to by the UK Government as the ‘jewel in the crown of British Industry’.

The region is home to nearly 200 life science and healthcare companies that generate a combined turnover of £10.5 billion and contribute 33% of the UK’s pharmaceutical GDP.

The region’s highly developed scientific and engineering skills attracted many of the world’s largest pharmaceutical and biologics manufacturing companies including Aesica, Shasun, GlaxoSmithKline, FujiFilm Disosynth Biotechnologies, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Bristol Laboratories and Shire.

The regions’ pharmaceutical manufacturers also benefit from the wider, cross sectoral culture and expertise in highly efficient and lean manufacturing in North East England. This has resulted in a number of the pharmaceutical sites being world leading in quality and unit cost of production.

North East England has a full capability in the pharmaceutical value chain, including pre-clinical drug discovery and development, clinical research and development, clinical trial management, pilot-scale manufacturing, full-scale pharmaceutical ingredient and intermediate manufacturing, as well as final product formulation, packaging and distribution.

Fundamental medical research is undertaken in this regions’ two Russel Group universities. The University of Newcastle was the first in the UK to receive a license to perform research on embryonic stem cells and is today a leading centre for such activity. Newcastle has built on this expertise and is now a leading Centre for induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) being used for pre-clinical research.

The region also has two highly respected Pharmacy schools in Sunderland and Durham Universities. These not only contribute pharmaceutics expertise to the regions’ pharmaceutical companies but also high calibre graduates. In addition both Newcastle and Durham Universities have considerable research strengths in the exciting field of continuous pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Translational research is channelled through the Clinical Trials Unit and the £4.5 million Newcastle Clinical Research Facility that links medical research in the University of Newcastle to the clinical excellence of the regional NHS trust.

Newcastle is one of only six locations in the UK to be granted Science City status in recognition of its excellence in scientific and medical research and development.

The International Centre for Life, also based in Newcastle, is the UK’s first biotechnology village. It was home to the £10 million Life Knowledge Park, one of six UK genetics parks, which focuses on degenerative diseases.

Most recently the £38m National Biologics Manufacturing Centre based in Darlington has opened its doors. The new Centre will provide companies with open access facilities and expertise to help them develop, prove and commercialise new and improved processes and technologies for biologics manufacture.

In addition to the National Biologics Centre, the new National Formulation Centre is planned for the NETPark science park near Sedgefield. This will also increase the region’s innovation capacity for drug development and manufacture.

North East England boosts a thriving pharmaceutical sector and is referred to by the UK Government as the ‘jewel in the crown of British Industry’.

The region is home to over 1,000 life science and healthcare companies that together employ 38,000 people, generate a combined turnover of £10.5 billion and contribute 33% of the UK’s pharmaceutical GDP.

The region’s highly developed scientific and engineering skills attracted many of the world’s largest pharmaceutical and biologics manufacturing companies including Aesica, Shasun, GlaxoSmithKline, Covance, Merck Sharp & Dohme and sanofi-aventis but to name a few.

North East England has a full capability in the pharmaceutical value chain, including pre-clinical drug discovery and development, clinical research and development, clinical trial management, pilot-scale manufacturing, full-scale pharmaceutical ingredient and intermediate manufacturing, as well as final product formulation, packaging and distribution.

Fundamental medical research is undertaken in this region at all of its five universities. The University of Newcastle was the first in the UK to receive a license to perform research on stem cells and is today a leading centre for such activity. North East England is also the only centre in the world which has successfully carried out a nuclear transfer procedure to human embryos.

Translational research is channelled through the Clinical Trials Unit and the £4.5 million Newcastle Clinical Research Facility that links medical research in the University of Newcastle to the clinical excellence of the regional NHS trust.

Newcastle is one of only six locations in the UK to be granted Science City status in recognition of its excellence in scientific and medical research and development.

The International Centre for Life, also based in Newcastle, is the UK’s first biotechnology village. It was home to the £10 million Life Knowledge Park, one of six UK genetics parks, which focuses on degenerative diseases.

Most recently the £38m National Biologics Manufacturing Centre based in Darlington has opened its doors. The new Centre will provide companies with open access facilities and expertise to help them develop, prove and commercialise new and improved processes and technologies for biologics manufacture.

The region’s base and petrochemical cluster is one of the foremost in Europe. It is a vibrant collaborative community of companies with many global leaders represented.

Predominately based on Teesside, the region’s petrochemical industry, stretches back over 170 years during which time there has been a continuous stream of world leading products and processes. This legacy and the continual business rejuvenation driven by innovation and investment has cemented the region as a leading location for the process industry.

Teesside is hot-wired into the North Sea for the supply of oil and gas raw materials, whilst the port makes it a central point in the North Sea basin, giving access to both the European and wider global markets.

The sector feeds into benefits from other industries in the region. Many of the plants are integrated though a network of pipelines ensuring that the end product of one company becomes the raw material of another.

The 2,000 acre Wilton International site is one of the UK’s principle manufacturing sites. Owned by Sembcorp Utilities, the site is home to SABIC, Huntsman, Lotte Chemical UK, Ensus, Biffa, Invista, Yara, and International Power GDF Suez. With a 60 year heritage and originally a cornerstone of the ICI business, today 3,000 people work on the site and some 50 companies, including suppliers of key maintenance and engineering services.

The site has extensive existing infrastructure including power, steam and water and underpinned by one of the largest crackers in Europe. The cracker is owned by SABIC who produce ethylene, polypropylene and butadiene. SABIC also operates an ethylene liquefaction facility and recently opened the world’s largest low density polyethylene plant. The firm are currently undertaking the region’s largest process sector investment in a generation – the Teesside gas cracker conversion.

The site is one of only a few in Western Europe with special development status for heavy industrial use and in the last 15 years more than £1.25 billion have been invested on new and updated plant and equipment. Sitting alongside the Wilton International Site is one of the largest research and development centres in Europe – the Wilton Centre.

Billingham’s chemical heritage began in the 1920’s with the production of ammonia, fertiliser and plastic by then owners ICI. Today chemical, biotechnology and engineering companies continue to operate at the multi-company Billingham Chemical Park and include CF Fertilisers, Johnson Matthey, and Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies. Adjacent to this is the 62 acre Belasis Business Park – home to companies such as Cambridge Research Biologics, ABB and Biochemica.

Situated in the mouth of the River Tees on recovered land from the sea, an area of Seal Sands became an industrial park for the Chemical Industry in the 1960’s. Operators here include Ineos, Fine Organics, BP Cats, SABIC, Vertellus, ConocoPhillips, Navigator Terminals, Inter Terminals, Harvest Energy, Greenergy and Air Products.

The ConocoPhillips Ekofisk oil pipeline & BP Cat’s natural gas pipeline both landfall here also – with 20 per cent of the UK’s natural gas is brought in here before being transferred onto the national grid. Butane, ethylene and condensate are also supplied to a number of customers including Huntsman, Vopak and ConocoPhillips.

Other operators in the region include Huntsman, which has world scale plants in polyurethanes and pigments; CF Fertilisers (formally GrowHow) with the largest fertiliser plant in the UK and Lotte Chemical UK, who manufacture PET – a major component in plastic bottles. Biffa Polymers also operate from the Wilton site, recycling a significant proportion of UK milk bottles.

North East England is synonymous with engineering. Historically the region’s formidable engineering reputation was built on heavy industries such as shipbuilding, railways, coal, iron and steel.

With the passage of time, engineering has diversified and expanded into the emerging industrial sectors with equal recognition for excellence.

Petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, bioscience, power, oil & gas, utilities, automotive, electronics plus many more technical manufacturing sectors, are all serviced in terms of design, fabrication, construction, operation, maintenance and development by engineering companies based in the region.

Specialist companies cover disciplines such as fabrication, machining, cranage, scaffolding, non-destructive testing, leak sealing, facilities management and QS.

Far from being a ‘parochial’ resource, engineering companies in North East England support national and global industrial enterprises and in doing so make a significant contribution to the regional and UK economy.

It is estimated there are 2,800 engineering companies based in the region, together employing some 13,000 people. Stockton-on-Tees, situated in the south of the region, was recently cited as housing the highest concentration of such businesses in Europe.


Sectors Image

Bioresources & Renewables

By the end of 2013 the United Kingdom had risen to 4th position in the league table of the World’s most attractive renewable energy markets - and the North East of England is at the forefront. Boosting strong positions in…

Sectors Image

Fine & Speciality

Within North East England the Fine & Speciality chemical sector is an important player on the world stage with companies such as Akzo–International Paints, Aesica, Banner Chemicals, Chemoxy International, Exwold Technologies, Fine Organics, Frutarom, Thomas Swan, High Force Research, Johnson…

Sectors Image

Biotechnology

Biotechnology is used extensively across North East England with a number of applications across drug discovery, pharmaceutical production, diagnostics and industrial biotechnology. The North East region as a whole is home to 92 life science companies (operating in R&D or…

Sectors Image

Polymers

Polymers were first manufactured on Teesside at the Wilton Site and to this day we still find many polymers and polymer intermediates produced here. The Wilton site is dominated by SABIC’s huge £300 million investment into Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE),…

Sectors Image

Pharmaceuticals

North East England boasts a thriving pharmaceutical sector and is referred to by the UK Government as the ‘jewel in the crown of British Industry’. The region is home to nearly 200 life science and healthcare companies that generate a…

Sectors Image

Petrochemicals

The region’s base and petrochemical cluster is one of the foremost in Europe. It is a vibrant collaborative community of companies with many global leaders represented. Predominately based on Teesside, the region’s petrochemical industry, stretches back over 170 years during…

Sectors Image

Engineering

North East England is synonymous with engineering. Historically the region’s formidable engineering reputation was built on heavy industries such as shipbuilding, railways, coal, iron and steel. With the passage of time, engineering has diversified and expanded into the emerging industrial…

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