Life science sector dominates South West Wales Business Awards

THE South West Wales life science and health sector won big at the region’s annual Business Awards.

The Business Life Business Awards 2016 were held at Swansea’s Brangwyn Hall last week and saw the great and the good for the business world gather to celebrate a year of success. The Life Science sector won in four categories and proved why it is one of Wales’s fastest growing sectors.

Haemair Ltd, which is an Institute of Life Science (ILS)-based firm, picked up the Innovation title, while Graham Foster from ILS’s Calon Cardio Ltd scooped Entrepreneur of the Year. Leadin won Business of the Year (0-25 employees) and the big prize of the night, the Lifetime Achievement award, was presented to Swansea University Professor Marc Clement by rugby legend Jonathan Davies at the glittering ceremony.

Swansea University’s ILS is a key part of the ARCH Programme which is working to improve the health and wealth of South West Wales through collaboration and innovation.

ARCH (A Regional Collaboration for Health) is a unique partnership between Swansea University, ABMU and Hywel Dda health boards.  The ILS is the research and innovation arm of Swansea University’s Medical School and ARCH builds on its decade of success which has seen the ILS help secure a total of £42million infrastructure funding, created more than 800 jobs, and in turn attracted more than £50million of investment.

Marc Clement Business award Lifetime Achievement winner Professor Marc Clement is the Executive Chair at the Institute of Life Science at Swansea University Medical School, Vice-President of Swansea University; and Dean of the School of Management. He is also an ARCH Programme board member.

Professor Clement said he was overwhelmed at receiving the award saying: “It was a very special night for me.  It meant a lot to receive the award but I have always worked as part of a team, and I thank all my colleagues for their enduring support.

“We are determined to improve the health and wellbeing of this region but also to put us on the map as a global leader in health and life science research and innovation which will help drive investment into our local economy.”

South Wales Evening Post editor Jonathan Roberts praised the success of Professor Clement, telling a packed Brangwyn Hall: “Despite his many roles within academia Marc has also held a number of senior public appointments serving on, and chairing, committees on behalf of Welsh Government and he is also a successful entrepreneur having founded several businesses and becoming the named inventor of many patents in the field of medical devices.

“Seemingly not needing to ever sleep, this one-man whirlwind became a Founding Director of High Performance Computing Wales and established the original Blue C Supercomputer at the ILS and most recently, he has been a driving force in the conception, and development of, the innovative and visionary ARCH Programme.

“It is this project which is the realisation of our winner’s ambition to bring together industry, science and the health service to significantly improve the health and wealth of his much-loved Wales.  His goal was always to make lives in Wales - better – and through ARCH he is realising these ambitions.”

ARCH and ABMU health board chair Andrew Davies sent a special video message praising Marc’s career and his enthusiasm for improving the region.

Professor Davies said: “Marc’s contribution to this region and the health and life science sectors is exceptional.

“He deserves this honour and I congratulate him on this special recognition.”

Innovation winner Haemair Ltd is developing an oxygenator to help treat chronic lung disease, Calon Cardio Ltd has developed a left ventricular assist device, which is a small implantable heart pump to improve healthcare of patients suffering from advanced heart failure.  Leadin, is a Finnish company that helps companies improve its products, or service with their assessment of the user experience, which is essential feedback to provide a more user-friendly products. The company has chosen to base its life science team at the ILS in Swansea creating 13 skilled jobs.

Swansea University life science business development, impact and engagement manager Kevin Fernquest added: “The life science sector is one of Wales’s fastest growing sectors.

“We are privileged here in South West Wales to have so many emerging, innovative firms which are helping to not only boost the local economy but also transform lives with their research, innovation and enterprise.

“It is great to see so many ILS-affiliated firms get the recognition they deserve from the business community.

“We are looking forward to the Medical School and ILS
Collaborate 2016 event on October 19, where we can showcase even more of the incredible work taking place here in Swansea.”