Big economic role for C-TRIC

C-TRIC, the award-winning clinical research facility at Altnagelvin Hospital has been hailed as having the potential to be a major player in the North West’s economic recovery.

The purpose-built centre brings healthcare, technology and research under one roof to facilitate the development of innovative products and services.

Developed as a joint partnership between the University of Ulster, Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust) and Derry City Council, C-TRIC beat off stiff competition to collect the Public Sector Award at the Derry City Business awards.

Last year C-TRIC was named Best Cross-border innovation project at The Irish Times Intertrade Ireland Innovation awards.

Ulster’s Office of Innovation was instrumental in establishing and operating C-TRIC. The 9,000 sq ft complex, in the grounds of the Western Trust’s Altnagelvin Hospital campus, is a one-stop-shop for technology entrepreneurs, academic medical and healthcare researchers, and commercially-funded clinical studies.

C-TRIC – Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre – is the only facility of its kind in either Ireland or Britain. Translational medicine is the term used for the ‘bench-to-bedside’ approach to R&D within international healthcare. C-TRIC aims to reduce the cost of research into innovative health technologies and medical devices by speeding up the time for the research to be converted into practice. In the United States, health organisations invest an estimated $500 million annually in 60 such centres.

C-TRIC’s Chief Executive Dr Maurice O’Kane said: “This award reflects the great support which has been afforded to us by our founders, Western Health and Social Care Trust, University of Ulster and Derry City Council. C-TRIC has now received both local and international recognition for our innovative work in areas such as personalised medicine, connected health and medical device design.”

Eddie Friel, Head of Business Liaison and Academic Enterprise at the University of Ulster says the award is a great boost for everyone involved in C-TRIC.

“I hope this latest achievement will help to spread the message to the biotechnology sector and business community at home and abroad that C-TRIC is achieving results and is growing from strength to strength. C-TRIC is a key component of the North West’s economic development portfolio, and is helping to make the region increasingly attractive to inward investors.”

Congratulating the C-TRIC team, Mayor Alderman Maurice Devenney said: “Derry City Council is proud to be a leading partner in the continued development of C-TRIC. It is great news that C-TRIC’s economic potential is now being realized with a number of pioneering entrepreneurs based at the centre.”

The Mayor said that C-TRIC had become “a real magnet for inward investment”, attracting interest from the US, UK and Europe.

“We look forward to continuing our working partnership with the Health Trust and University of Ulster in ensuring the continued success and development of C-TRIC and the wider development of health and life sciences sector,” Alderman Devenney said.

Last week the ‘Journal’ revealed that an international pharmaceutical company Global Centre for Pharmaceutical Excellence (GPCE) is looking to locate a state-of-the-art laboratory facility in Ireland, preferably Derry.

The centre will act as a hub for worldwide pharmaceutical companies involved in cutting-edge research and development projects – and could create hundreds of jobs.