Life Sciences Hub Wales: Appointment of Chair and Board Members

Life Sciences Hub Wales (the Hub) has been established by Welsh Government to ensure ongoing development of the life sciences sector in Wales that delivers significant (>£1bn) economic impact by 2022.

The Hub’s mission is to connect, inspire and accelerate growth of companies in this sector, placing Wales on the international map as a preferred location to establish and grow successful life science companies.

The Hub is the nerve centre of a vibrant and prosperous Welsh life sciences eco-system and brings together academic, business, clinical and professional services, funding organisations and Government to provide a commercially-driven melting pot of talent.

Officially opened in July 2014 by Welsh Government the Hub has become a very successful focal point for public and private sector specialists and strategic partners, covering all sector activities ranging from funding to business support to international development and promotion.


The Welsh Government on behalf of Life Sciences Hub Wales Ltd is seeking applicants with an interest in, experience and knowledge of the life science sector, in particular in academia, clinical or industrial roles, with a commitment to generating and developing opportunities for achieving economic growth. Consideration will also be given to candidates from outside the life sciences sector who can demonstrate similar skills and experience.

For further details please refer to the following website:

Life Sciences Research Network Wales 2nd Annual Congress

The Life Sciences Research Network Wales held its 2nd Annual Congress on the 2nd and 3rd December 2015.

Professor Mark Drakeford AM, Minister for Health and Social Services attended the evening poster exhibition and drinks reception then presented awards for the PhD presentations and posters.


Professor Mark Drakeford AM, speaking at the Life Sciences Research Network Wales 2nd Annual Congress Dinner.

Group photo of Congress delegates

Group photo of Congress delegates

Life Sciences Research Network Congress brings together Wales’ finest Drug Discovery Researchers


The Life Sciences Research Network Wales is part of the Welsh Government’s £50 million Ser Cymru programme aimed at building research capacity within Wales that addresses the Grand Challenges of:

  • Life sciences and health
  • Advanced engineering and materials
  • Low carbon, energy and environment

The Life Science Research Network Wales is based in Cardiff University and led by Professors Chris McGuigan and John Chester. This £15M initiative was supported by a grant of £7.3M from the Ser Cymru programme and HEFCW and aims to discover and develop new drugs in areas of unmet medical and veterinary need.

The Network brings together leading academics from Aberystwyth, Bangor Cardiff, and Swansea Universities and aims to support over 100 new research projects. The Network works closely with a number of industry partners, the NHS and other major funding bodies and has a strong focus on commercialising the outputs of academic research for ultimate patient benefit.

In its first year, the Network has supported a range of activities including PhD students, individual research projects and platform technologies at universities across Wales. Almost 90 projects have been supported in the first 2 years.


The Network is hosting its 2nd Annual Drug Discovery Congress on 2nd and 3rd December 2015 and the event will be attended by a number of leading international researchers as well representatives of the private sector such as multi-billion pound Bio-Technology entrepreneur and Chair of the Welsh Life Sciences Fund, Professor Sir Chris Evans.

Professor Mark Drakeford (Minister for Health and Social Services) will also attending and will be awarding prizes for best presentations and posters to PhD students and young researchers.


Next Generation of Researchers

The Network is committed to developing the next generation of scientists and has supported 43 PhD students across Wales. These students are working on developing the next generation of drugs to tackle major societal health issues such as:

  • Cancer
  • Antimicrobial Resistance
  • Neurodegenerative diseases


Commercial Success

The Network has already had success in commercialising the outcomes of the academic research and is supporting a PhD student to work with a new biotechnology company to develop a technology originally patented by Cardiff University. The technology aims to inhibit the spread of breast cancer and is an early example of the World Class research developed within Wales potentially leading to new therapies. The company is already listed this year on the London Stock Exchange with a valuation of around £100M and hopes to be ready to go into human clinical trials within 12-18 months.

Development of novel treatment for solid tumors

Scientists at Swansea University (Prof Paul Dyson and Dr Claire Morgan) were recently awarded a major award by Cancer Research UK to develop novel therapies for the treatment of prostrate cancer. This £180k award will support collaboration with Cardiff University (Prof Alan Clarke) in developing a new therapy to target any solid tumor, including late stage metastatic tumors. This patented technology delegate’s production and delivery of therapeutic molecules to tumour-targeting bacteria that are otherwise harmless to healthy tissue and has the potential to be developed into a new treatment for a wide range of cancers.


Potential Breast Cancer Treatment

Scientists at Cardiff University (Dr Jun Cai) are working on a novel strategy for treatment of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), which is one of the worst, forms of breast cancer for younger age patients (<40-year-old) and currently lack an effective therapy.  Following collaboration between Cardiff University’s Schools of Medicine and Pharmacy, scientists have now identified two lead compounds, which have the potential to become new therapeutic drugs.  Further tests are ongoing but initial results look very promising.


Prof Chris McGuigan, Director of the Network said: “We are delighted to welcome the Health Minister to our 2nd Annual Congress where will celebrate the early success of the almost 90 drug discovery projects we have supported across Wales. The Network is a vital part of the flourishing life sciences ecosystem in Wales which has arisen from a unique partnership between Government, Academia, NHS and business”

Life Sciences Bridging Fund – Call for Pathfinder applications

The Welsh Government recently launched the Life Sciences Bridging Fund to provide proof-of-concept funding for Life Sciences projects arising from Welsh universities. The Fund aims to address the lack of translational funding required to develop the commercial potential of academic research and provides an important stepping-stone on the road to commercialisation.

The Bridging Fund Pathfinder scheme aims to support the initial stages of the commercialisation process and should be used to establish the technical and commercial potential of a discrete project.  Pathfinder is open to any academic working within a Welsh University. Applicants can apply for up to £75k with the majority of projects expected to be less than 12 months in duration. Calls for Pathfinder applications are running on a quarterly basis. The next deadline is 18 November 2015 (4pm).

Application forms and guidance notes will be available online shortly. In the meantime, they can be obtained through your Technology Transfer Office. For further information about the Life Sciences Bridging Fund, please contact the Project Manager, Dr Corinne Nguyen,

UK Extracellular Vesicles Forum – Call for Posters & Talks

Call for Posters and Short Talks

The call is now open to receive submissions for posters and short talks (~10min) on varied topics related to Extracellular Vesicles. Topics will include vesicles in cancer, the manufacture and trafficking of vesicles, methods for isolation and analysis, vesicles as therapeutic agents and several others.

Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come first served basis, so please register soon to ensure a place. Submission deadline is the 1st of November 2015.

Abstracts will be published in the Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, and you can meet some of the JEV Editors at the conference.

We are delighted to announce international plenary speakers will present some of their latest vesicle-related research:-

HomeProf. Mattias Belting, Lund University.
Presenting: Vesicular communication in cancer

HomeDr Guillaume Van Neil, Institut Curie, Paris.
Presenting: How to handle amyloids in a safe manner:
Exosomes from pigment cells light the way.


To register only, please use this online form:

To submit an abstract & register, please use this online form:

Conference Registration Fees:
Staff £50, Students £25.

This meeting is part-sponsored by a Life Science Research Network Wales Endeavour Award.

BioWales 2016 – Registration now open!

Picture (Device Independent Bitmap) 1

Registration is now open for BioWales, the leading UK Life Sciences conference – with a discount of 40% available for early bird registration.

The theme for 2016 is Connect and Collaborate, with the event offering a unique platform in Wales to develop new international connections and partnering opportunities.

Lord Winston is the first of the big names to be announced in our inspirational, world class speaker programme. BioWales 2016 also showcases:

  • Expert-led collaborative workshops and round table sessions, focusing on funding, research, skills and technology.
  • The latest on how the Life Sciences Hub Wales is connecting, inspiring and accelerating growth.
  • Dragon’s Den, with financial rewards for the best entrepreneur pitch.
  • 1-to-1 partnering offering high-value connections and deal making prospects.

PLUS new to 2016 – a refreshed Website, VIP Breakfast Briefing, Micro SME Rate; and Innovation Zone allowing entrepreneurial SMEs to showcase their products and get ‘access-to-expert’ advice.

To register as a delegate please visit BioWales 2016

There are also great opportunities for Exhibitors and Sponsors.

Be part of it!

Follow us on @BioWales using #biowales2016

Cancer Free Future Event a Great Success

Tenovus Cancer Care joined forces with the Life Sciences Research Network Wales to showcase the very latest advances in the fight against cancer.

Experts from across the UK met at the Life Sciences Hub at Cardiff Bay to discuss the very latest advancements in cancer research to an audience which included PhD students funded by Tenovus Cancer Care, key supporters of the charity and Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething AM.

CPAlCnLWIAA99_aAmong the speakers were Hugh Griffiths, whose work with Professor Chris McGuigan has led to the development of Acelarin, which is helping to control the spread of solid tumours in cancer patients.

Professor McGuigan, Chair of Life Sciences Research Network Wales and the Life Sciences Hub Wales, and inventor of Acelarin, said: “At the National Research Network, we are proud to work with Tenovus in bringing better drugs forward to improve the treatment of cancer in patients across Wales, and beyond,”

Each year Tenovus Cancer Care invests nearly £0.5 million across 20 PhD projects making us one of the largest supporters of early career researchers and scientists in Wales. We are also pleased to announce that starting this October we will be investing a further £900,000 in 10 PhD studentships based at Cardiff, Swansea and Bangor Universities.

This year Tenovus Cancer Care has partnered with the Life Sciences Research Network (LSRN) to jointly support a PhD studentship in cancer drug development.

These studentships span a breadth of cancer research areas, including drug development, immunotherapy, cancer genetics and prostate cancer treatment choices.

Dr Ian Lewis, Director of Research at Tenovus Cancer Care, said: “Wales is at the forefront of some really exciting developments in cancer research. We are really proud to be working with the Life Sciences Research Network to support this PhD studentship, which will help us develop new drugs to combat cancer.”

Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething AM added: “We have made real progress in improving cancer care in Wales – more people than ever now survive cancer, even though more people are being diagnosed.”

“The work of Tenovus is a fantastic example of how the third sector and NHS Wales work together to meet the needs of patients. My hope is such ongoing collaboration can continue to support society’s wider efforts to tackle the burden of cancer on individuals and the health service.”

Antimicrobial Resistance Call

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in the Real World is a £6.5m programme under the AMR Cross-Research Council initiative which is funded by NERC, BBSRC and MRC.  This programme has recently launched a call for Pump Priming Grants of up to £200k to address the need for a greater understanding of the role of the outdoor environment and host microbiome in influencing the evaluation, acquisition and spread of antibacterial resistance.  The research can be based in agricultural, aquaculture, wastewater and natural environments (and their interfaces), the human and animal host microbiome, and also includes elements of the way people and human communities interact with the environment.
Whilst not directly relevant to drug development, the call may be of interest to some of the Network’s members.
Please note that there is town hall meeting on the 11th of September in London where applicants can discuss their proposals with the funders and potential collaborators.
Further information can be found at the following website:

Cardiff Cancer Research Open Day

Cardiff University’s European Cancer Stemcell Research Institute, Velindre NHS Trust and Cancer Research UK  will be holding a Cancer Research Open Day on Saturday 24th October at the Hadyn Ellis Building, Maindy Road (posters attached).

This public event will showcase the diverse, cutting-edge cancer research taking place across Cardiff and attendees from across Wales are welcome. The event is aimed primarily at members of the public but visitors will meet cancer scientists, doctors and nurses, go behind the scenes on lab tours, learn about local research through talks and interactive demos and create some biological artwork with local textile artist, Lisa Porch.

Attendance is free and visitors can register their interest at

For further information please see the attached posters.

Cancer research open day 2015 poster Welsh

Cancer research open day 2015 poster English

Longitude Prize

£10m to conserve antibiotics for future generations

Thursday 24th September

18:00-20:00, Life Sciences Hub, 3 Assembly Square, Cardiff. Wales. CF10 4PL

Refreshments will be provided

Nesta and Life Sciences Hub Wales would like to invite you to come and find out more about the £10m Longitude Prize’s fascinating 300-year history, last year’s BBC Horizon vote and what you need to do to win the Prize.
The Longitude Prize is a historic challenge that aims to conserve antibiotics for future generation. The challenge is to develop a cheap, accurate, rapid and easy-to-use, point-of-care test that will identify when antibiotics are needed and, if they are, which ones to use.

The Longitude Prize was opened last year and will run until December 2019 or until a winner is found.

Find out more about how to win the Longitude Prize – sign up now

The event will be hosted by Adam Price

You will hear from:

Dr Tracey Cooper

Chief Executive – Public Health Wales

Professor Chris Butler

Professor of Primary Care Medicine and Longitude Prize Judging Panel member

Professor Jim McLaughlin OBE

Professor in the University of Ulster School of Engineering & Chief Technology Officer – Zensor

Reserve your place now