Biosphere at Newcastle Helix V1

The Biosphere at Newcastle Helix

A unique opportunity for an investor-developer to partner with Newcastle City Council and accelerate growth in an established life science ecosystem.

Newcastle City Council is seeking to appoint an investor-developer partner with a shared vision and ambition to expand and enhance the laboratory facilities at Newcastle Helix. This includes both the ownership of the income-producing 8,366 sqm (90,050 sq ft) Biosphere laboratory facility and development of the available Biosphere expansion plots.

Newcastle Helix site


The site is located on the established 24-acre Newcastle Helix innovation campus, in Newcastle city centre.

Investment type:

Capital investment - real estate


(Real estate, Healthcare and life sciences, Science & innovation)

Project promoter:

Newcastle City Council


£70 million

Planning status:

Phase 2 Planning obtained; outline for Phase 3

Time to Final Investment Decision (FID):

0-6 months

Sector and market

Life Sciences continues to grow as a UK sector and is reflected in the government’s new Science and Technology framework. Newcastle and the North East Region is highly ranked for its clinical trials activity, has 3 twice rated CQC ‘Outstanding’ hospital trusts, and contributes 33% to the UK’s pharmaceutical GDP. Newcastle is also home to 4 National Innovation Centres.


This opportunity is located in the established Newcastle Helix innovation district in the heart of Newcastle city centre and it a partnership with Newcastle City Council and Newcastle University. Demand for lab-space is high and there is no other competing commercial lab space in the city.


Newcastle Helix is a 10-minute walk from the mainline train station. Over 30 trains travel daily to London in as little as 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Newcastle International Airport connects to 80 destinations worldwide.

The site is well-connected to both transport links via Metro and public buses.

Local talent and skills

Newcastle Helix is located in close proximity to Newcastle and Northumbria Universities as well as Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest trusts in the country.

Durham, Sunderland and Teeside Universities are within an hour’s drive. The area has the highest proportion of STEM students in the UK (52,000 across the region), and a population of over 100,000 students.

Life Sciences strengths include healthy longevity, diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, cancer and rare disease. There are over 200 relevant businesses with a presence in the region.

Research and Expertise

There are numerous buildings within the Newcastle Helix innovation district producing ground breaking research and innovation. This includes The Catalyst, which houses the National Innovation Centre for the Ageing and the National Innovation Centre for Data. Both innovation centres support businesses working within Health, Life Sciences, tech and beyond.

The National Innovation Centre for Data helps business analyse and understand their own data to improve efficiencies and profitability.

The National Innovation centre for the Ageing helps business tailor products to aid healthy longevity.

Further details

Newcastle Biosphere offered 9000 square meters of mixed-use laboratory and office space. It opened in November 2018 and is fully occupied, with further demand for space. The chosen investment partner will manage this existing facility, along with developing and managing up to 22,000 square meters of new Life Sciences Real Estate on Newcastle Helix.

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) highlights

The entire site is powered by the District Energy Centre which uses modern heat exchange technology, acting as an independent power source for the site. This allows buildings on the site to operate much more efficiently, with some averaging 7 tonnes less of carbon emissions each week.

Promoters and partnerships

The promoter is Newcastle City Council who have been involved in the redevelopment of the Newcastle Helix site since its conception.

The Council has successfully developed and managed the first phase of a commercial lab space, The Biosphere, to anchor a Life Sciences cluster in the region.

Local & National Government Support

Newcastle Helix is in line with the UK government’s ‘Science Superpower’ ambitions and sector support for Life Sciences.

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