Joint partnership places Leeds and Sheffield City Regions at forefront of UK health innovation


The combined strengths of the health innovation and medical engineering sectors in Leeds and Sheffield will be placed on a global stage next week as part of an effort to drive the foreign investment ambition of the two city regions.

Leeds City Region and Sheffield City Region will jointly attend OMTEC 2013, the Orthopaedic Manufacturing & Technology Exposition and Conference, held in Chicago on June 12-13. The partnership builds on a visit to OMTEC 2012 by representatives from Leeds and Partners and the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, in which the city regions joined up for the first time to demonstrate their collective expertise in the field of orthopaedic manufacturing.

OMTEC will provide Leeds and Sheffield City Regions with an international platform to showcase their strategies and capabilities to policy influencers. Nearly 1,000 industry professionals from across the globe will come together to review regulatory, political and economic developments, discuss how investments in education and personal relationships yield return, examine current marketplace trends, learn about new technologies and supplier capabilities and gather valuable and insightful information.

Brian Reece, MD of Sheffield Precision Medical, attended OMTEC 2012 and will be endorsing the strengths of the city regions’ local resources to the US orthopaedics industry again this year.

He said: “OMTEC offers a rich and diverse gathering of surgical instrumentation exhibitors from across the US. The great benefit is that most of the main global players are in the US, and with careful planning and patience, this is where we can meet them. SPM will be promoting its advanced design and manufacturing skills, and emphasising the strong resource of Sheffield and Leeds.’

The city regions will focus particular interest on discussions surrounding the types of data needed to support the adoption of new orthopaedic products, changes in the marketplace that alter the need for data, the best data to support products, how to collect data and how data needs will be affected by healthcare reform laws.

Leeds and Sheffield City Regions are already the UK home of orthopaedic manufacturing, and related medical engineering. With a long-established history, expertise developed over generations, world-class innovation capacity and a mobile labour force, the city regions offer an unrivalled business environment for companies, suppliers and global purchasers.

Between them, the city regions also boast the largest concentration of universities in Europe, with 10 institutions producing over 80,000 graduates per year. Underlining the academic expertise in the medtech sector, The University of Leeds recently announced news of an alliance with The Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), to collaborate on the R&D of innovative medical devices in mutually identified areas. These include lab on chips, medical implants and implantable devices, which include innovative joint replacements and biological scaffolds for cardiovascular and musculoskeletal tissue regeneration to improve quality of life.

The Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering at the University of Leeds is well positioned with the world’s largest pre-clinical simulation facilities to determine the long-term performance of medical implants and an extensive experience of successful research translation and exploitation.

Leeds City Region has a unique healthcare ecosystem, including the largest teaching hospital in Europe, the only Department of Health headquarters outside London, one of the world’s top ten bioengineering institutes and award-winning medical companies comprising the likes of Surgical Innovations, Brandon Medical and DePuy International.

With a remarkable 17 per cent increase in healthcare employment since the recession hit in 2008 to more than 50,000 jobs, Leeds is at the forefront of global innovation in the sector. A further increase of 13 per cent is forecast by 2022.

Roger Marsh, incoming Chair of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Healthcare and medical technologies make a huge contribution to the Leeds City Region economy, and with our unique combination of innovation, university and public sector assets, business growth opportunities in the sector are immense. We’re delighted to join forces with the Sheffield City Region to jointly present a world-leading proposition to decision-makers in this global growth sector with the goal of securing new investment and jobs for our region”

Sheffield City Region benefits from world class expertise in the design and implementation of advanced materials and manufacturing technologies; a comprehensive end-to end supply chain; and a significant cluster of orthopaedic, medical device and surgical instrumentation companies, including B Braun Medical Ltd, Orchid Orthopedics Ltd, Sheffield Precision Medical, JRI Orthopaedics and Symmetry Medical.

Industrial competitive advantage is developed through collaboration with partners such as Sheffield Teaching Hospital Trust (internationally recognised for its work in orthopaedics) and the two research led universities with their considerable knowledge in disciplines including simulation and modelling, additive manufacturing, robotics, health economics, coatings, biomaterials and tissue engineering.

The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Design (AMRC), Prototyping & Testing Centre (to be launched in September 2013) will create a manufacturing design resource capability far beyond anything previously available in the UK.

Ellen Cutler, Director of Inward Investment at Sheffield City Region, said: “We are delighted to partner with Leeds City Region at OMTEC 2013 to reach an international market, together we offer a highly attractive range of capabilities in this sector.

“Sheffield City Region is looking forward to the imminent opening of the Medical Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre which will combine health sector expertise with the unique capability of the University of Sheffield AMRC Group to dramatically improve competitiveness in the sector.

“Together with compelling tax incentives available to businesses who want to accelerate their growth on the UK’s fDi rated number 1 Enterprise Zone for modern manufacturing, we believe that Sheffield City Region is the smart choice for investors.”