Oral cancer drug developer LightOx joins Newcastle Helix

Councillor Joyce McCarty, cabinet member for Inclusive Economy at Newcastle City Council, Sam Whitehouse, Chief Executive, LightOx, Luke Dunnett, Property Business Manager at The Biosphere.

LightOx, a Durham University spin-out developing new oral cancer treatments has announced its move to The Biosphere in Newcastle’s city centre. This specialist lab facility is part of the Newcastle Helix development and home to an increasing cluster of life science and biotech companies.

LightOx was established in Durham in 2016 and incubated in Durham University working across chemistry, biosciences and physics due to the nature of its light activated technologies for use in cancer treatment. Following recent investment from UK and EU investors, including investment from the Northern Accelerator Seed Investment Fund, the team have established new facilities in Newcastle to further develop the technology.

Newcastle Helix, a state-of-the art city centre quarter dedicated to helping people live better lives was the ideal place for LightOx to relocate, to cater for both laboratory space and meetings in a central city location.

Newcastle has a growing reputation as an innovative health and life science research cluster and LightOx join a number of companies in The Biosphere which is reaching capacity. The building is a unique laboratory and office building dedicated to life science innovation, research, development, and commercialisation.

Dr Sam Whitehouse, LightOx Chief Executive, said: “We are very excited to have opened our labs in The Biosphere and join many familiar neighbours in the building, as well as some of our collaborators.

“Newcastle is fast becoming the Northern hub for life science and we have worked closely with the NELEP to focus on bringing more funding into the North East specifically for the Life Science industry as we have so much potential in this region. Many of our team live and now work in the city and the proximity to the airport is key for many of our investors.”

Councillor Joyce McCarty, cabinet member for Inclusive Economy at Newcastle City Council said: “Our city’s strengths in the health and life science sector have shone through the last 12 months with a raft of innovative start-up and scale-up companies entering our life science hub on Newcastle Helix.

“Innovation and invention are at the heart of Newcastle Helix and The Biosphere, to enable people to live healthier and longer lives – aligning with LightOx’s work to better treat oral cancer.

“Continued investment into our life science community supports not only the growth of companies such as LightOx, it creates jobs and opportunities for the people of our city, playing a vital role in our city’s economic recovery.”

Luke Dunnett, Property Business Manager at The Biosphere, added:

“We’re delighted LightOx chose Newcastle as their new home to locate and grow their business. Newcastle has a range of assets in the health and life science sector including our incredible universities, with a talent pool of academics, researchers, and students.

“Like LightOx, many of our occupiers have received significant funding to continue to innovate and commercialise their research to help diagnose and treat some of the world’s most deadly diseases. These investments are a signal of confidence in our incredible life science sector, which we could not be more proud of.