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19th century manor houses a new genomics business centre


A North East Manor house, dating from 1860, has been transformed into a state-of-the-art business hub, specialising in the technology surrounding genomics and biomarkers.

The Durham Genome Center in Lanchester, Co. Durham, has been created with the express aim of delivering economic advantage and high quality jobs by helping businesses to exploit the latest technology in DNA science.

Park House has previously been Lanchester police station, the doctors’ surgery and the home of Durham Community Action. Many local residents can still recall going into the building to pay their rent or attend a GP appointment.

The building has been converted to house high specification laboratories, all of which are equipped for the latest genomic and biomarker analyses and are capable of competing on the international stage.

Privately funded by Louise Allcroft and Neil Sullivan, The Durham Genome Centre supports the development of biotechnology companies and their supply chains, with both office and laboratory accommodation and a range of services, plus the all-important access to capital equipment.

Talking about the centre, Director Dr Neil Sullivan said: “The burgeoning areas of genomics and biomarkers are predicted to transform diagnostics and therapeutics in both humans and animals for decades to come. Therefore, opening the centre was a way of not only being able to invest in our own premises, it will also allow us to expand opportunities and job prospects within biotechnology in the North East.

“One of the key barriers to the development of genomics and biomarker companies is the high cost of capital equipment so by utilising our state of the art facilities, we can help companies gain the initial data they need to raise funding and to develop their markets.”

The premises have the capacity to house five businesses, with tenants enjoying access to expert staff, as well as the latest technology and equipment available.

Dr Sullivan continued: “The addressable market in genotyping is predicted to grow at 22.5% per annum to 2020, to reach around £13bn and for biomarkers the annual growth rate of 14% may lead to a market of around £34bn by 2020.  These areas are a major opportunity to create value.”

Leading DNA testing company, Complement Genomics Ltd, is the anchor tenant and has expanded its business in paternity and biological relationship testing, for both consumers and the legal profession. Since being in the Centre, the Company has launched a drug and alcohol testing service and has several new areas under development.

To find out more about The Durham Genome Centre, please visit: http://www.durhamgenome.com/

Twitter: @durhamgenome

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