A £7m investment into a major biotechnology facility has been agreed by the Tees Valley mayor and the Tees Valley Combined Authority cabinet.
The investment, which will aid the development of FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies’ £14.5m BioCampus project at its site in Billingham, is expected to lead to the creation of up to 50 high-value jobs and add £4m a year to the regional economy.
The development will see the creation of 4,000sqm of high-specification office space which could also be converted into laboratory space, primarily used for manufacturing and business support for the existing 250 staff.
FUJIFILM Diosynth’s biopharmaceutical science and technology operations, which include recombinant protein production, position it at the leading edge of a key Tees Valley sector.
It has seen considerable growth in the region, expanding its Stockton site over the past 20 years, from 90 employees to around 600 today.
Last year, it opened a £7m state-of-the-art biotech facility at Redcar’s Wilton International.
FUJIFILM UK’s vision for the site is to create a thriving bioscience campus, with a phased master plan for the creation of this.
Phase one will be supported by this cash and the vision for two further phases could see the creation of a further 200 jobs, adding even more value to the economy.
Tees mayor Ben Houchen, who chairs the combined authority, said: “FUJIFILM’s Billingham plant is going from strength to strength. It provides well-paid jobs for local people, and there is huge potential to expand this valuable asset even further.
“In May I led a delegation as part of the Tees Valley’s first trade mission to the Far East, where I met some of FUJIFILM’s top executives in Japan to thank them personally for putting their faith in our economy, and outlined the fantastic opportunities for growth in this region.
“I’m pleased these plans have come to fruition and this multinational company and household name, which plays such an important role in the Tees Valley, has again shown confidence in our region. I look forward to working with them in the future to grow their business even more.”
Cllr Bob Cook, Stockton Council leader and combined authority cabinet member, said: “FUJIFILM Diosynth is central to our flourishing health and biologics sector in the Tees Valley.
“This funding could unlock further investment from the business, driving forward more jobs and economic growth, as well as highlighting the region as a global leader in the field.”
Paul Found, chief operating officer at FUJIFILM Diosynth, said: “Our operations in the Tees Valley continue to provide a foundation for the growth of FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies as a leading provider of development and manufacturing services in the global biotechnology sector.
“The TVCA funding reinforces our internal investment strategy that seeks to further develop and grow our organisation with formal conclusion of the BioCampus Phase 1 funding approval anticipated in January 2019.”
The proposal was approved at the combined authority’s cabinet meeting on Friday (November 30).
The combined authority has pledged a total of £7.062m for the £14.5m scheme. Match-funding of £5.437m has been provided by FUJIFILM, with a further £1m from the Tees Valley Business Compass capital grant support scheme, and £1m from the Local Growth Fund.