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Cardiff Medicentre celebrates 30 years

19 December 2022

A Medicentre staff member works on a machine

A biotech and medtech innovation hub in the Welsh capital has reached a milestone third decade of helping to grow some of the UK’s most exciting businesses.

Founded in 1992, Cardiff Medicentre was the first business incubator of its kind in the UK.

A joint venture between Cardiff University and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Cardiff Medicentre provides low-cost desk leasing through to high-spec laboratories for start-ups and established life science businesses.

Set in the grounds of the University Hospital of Wales, it provides the environment and the hands-on support to get innovation off the ground and to commercialisation.

Home to 13 tenants, including Antiverse, Cedar, and Diurnal, the centre has nurtured 55 businesses since 1992, many of which have gone on to achieve significant success.

These include:

  • AIM-listed artificial intelligence-based ultrasound software and simulation company, Intelligent Ultrasound, which began life as the Cardiff University spinout, MedaPhor;
  • Cardiff University spin-out Alesi Surgical, which developed and commercialised Ultravision, the world’s first system for eliminating laparoscopic surgical smoke without the need for gas exchange;
  • Cellesce, inventors of a unique bioprocess for expanding human-derived, normal and cancer organoids for applications including drug discovery.

Rhys Pearce-Palmer, Innovation Operations Manager of Cardiff Medicentre, said, “The innovation that happens here is staggering. Every tenant brings something new and they’re driven by wanting to fix or improve something to deliver better patient healthcare and boost the economy in Wales. So being as close as we are to UHW is a real advantage for those that can benefit from the clinical environment and contact with practitioners.”

Cardiff Medicentre is much in demand, offering 19,050 square feet of modern lab and office space, staffed by a specialist business support team.

“As a joint venture, we help businesses get the most out of two major organisations in the Cardiff Capital Region,” said Mr Pearce-Palmer. “The resources and networks we can leverage help businesses grow. It’s a real privilege to be able to support businesses as they do this, and to follow their progress as they move on from the Medicentre – ‘graduation’ being the ultimate aim of business incubation.”

Companies that have graduated from Cardiff Medicentre have gone on to take on premises of their own and make their mark internationally. InBio (formerly Indoor Biotechnologies) is one notable example.

Mr Pearce-Palmer said, “As a team, we are forever connected to the businesses that pass through Cardiff Medicentre. It’s great to see their names on the side of buildings and to read about the new markets they’ve entered, new products they’ve designed, developments they’ve pioneered. We’re proud to play a part in the first few formative years.”

Peter Welsh, a member of the Medicentre Board for 20 years for Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said, “As a joint founding partner in the Cardiff Medicentre venture, we have seen huge developments in life sciences innovation in Wales over the last three decades. Not only is this great for our nation and economy, but also for patients and practitioners in the healthcare system in the UK and beyond who benefit from the incredible advancements that continue to be made here. Cardiff Medicentre is rightly credited as the place where many of these began.”

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