Construction work on CPI’s new, state-of-the-art, healthcare photonics facility is being finalised. The centre, based at NETPark in Sedgefield, County Durham, will help develop next-generation light-based treatments for the healthcare industry.

The cutting-edge facility will support the scale-up and commercialisation of medical technology (medtech) products, acting as a hub for businesses of all sizes and academic partners. The photonics centre will enable work on innovative methods of diagnosing disease, imaging systems – including endoscopy – and light-based treatments.

Providing space for people to work across two floors, the photonics hub will include a suite of laboratories covering specialist optics, life sciences, electronic and ionising radiation testing, and development work. CPI’s highly-skilled team will offer specialist support across device design and development, pre-clinical validation and testing, and pilot production. The facility will also provide specific medtech business support to strengthen networks and connections within the healthcare and medtech markets.

The development of the photonics centre has been supported by a £7.9m grant from the Government’s Local Growth Deal, through the North-East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The Local Growth Deal is supporting major capital investments to promote innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport as part of the North-East Growth Deal. The facility has already allowed CPI to create a number of jobs, with five key new appointments made since February.

The healthcare photonics centre is being built by Newcastle-based Surgo Construction, with support from Durham City architect Howarth Litchfield. It is due to open in December 2018 and will sit alongside an existing CPI formulation facility in the recently-named Bob Coxon Building.

Dr Tom Harvey, CPI Healthcare Photonics Lead, said: “Bringing together photonics experts, equipment and facilities in this new centre will enable companies to develop the latest cutting-edge medtech products. This will benefit patients, as well as the local and national economy.”

Alan Welby, Innovation Director at the North-East LEP, said: “The North-East’s National Centres of Excellence are critical to giving the region a global competitive edge and this facility, which will lead the way in light-based therapies, gives us another strong point of differentiation. We look forward to it opening and to supporting businesses as they develop new successful products and services.”