Sunday Sun - - News - By Elaine Blackburne scoop.sun­day­[email protected]­me­

Con­tent edi­tor A £7m in­vest­ment which could bring “50 high qual­ity jobs” to Teesside has won the back­ing of politi­cians.

Tech­nol­ogy gi­ant Fu­ji­film will re­ceive the fi­nan­cial back­ing which will aid the devel­op­ment of its Diosynth Biotech­nolo­gies’ £14.5m BioCam­pus project at its site in Billing­ham.

Those be­hind the scheme say in ad­di­tion to the jobs it is also ex­pected to lead to add £4m per year to the re­gional econ­omy.

The pro­posal was ap­proved by the Tees Val­ley Mayor and the Tees Val­ley Com­bined Au­thor­ity Cab­i­net on Fri­day.

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 Tees Val­ley Busi­ness Com­pass cap­i­tal grant sup­port scheme, and £1m from the Lo­cal Growth Fund.

The devel­op­ment will see the cre­ation of 4,000sqm of high­spec­i­fi­ca­tion of­fice space which could also be con­verted into lab­o­ra­tory space, pri­mar­ily used for man­u­fac­tur­ing and busi­ness sup­port for the ex­ist­ing 250 staff.

Tees Val­ley Mayor Ben Houchen, who chairs the Com­bined Au­thor­ity, wel­comed the move.

He said: “Fu­ji­film’s Billing­ham plant is go­ing from strength to strength.”

He added: “It pro­vides well­paid 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 f a n t a s t i c 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 work- ing with them in the fu­ture to grow their busi­ness even more.”

Coun­cil­lor Bob Cook, Stock­ton Coun­cil Leader and cab­i­net mem­ber of the Com­bined Au­thor­ity, was alos de­lighted with the move.

He 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.” COUN BOB COOK

M e a n - while, Paul Found, chief o p e r a t i n g of­fi­cer at F u j i f i l m D i o s y n t h Biotech­nolo­gies, Billi n g h a m , e x p l a i n e d the firm’s t h i n k i n g be­hind the move.

He 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.

“We are de­lighted that the Mayor and TVCA sup­port our mis­sion to ad­vance to­mor­row’s medicines and pro­vide truly life chang­ing ther­a­pies to pa­tients world-wide.

“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.”

Fu­ji­film Diosynth’s bio­phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal science and tech­nol­ogy op­er­a­tions have seen con­sid­er­able growth in the re­gion, ex­pand­ing its Stock­ton site over the past 20 years, from 90 em­ploy­ees to about 600 to­day.

Last year, it opened a £7m sta­teof-the-art biotech fa­cil­ity at Red­car’s Wil­ton In­ter­na­tional.

The com­pany even­tu­ally hopes 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.

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