South West Wales

Swansea Institute of Life Science expansion to open

A new £28.8m expansion at a hi-tech medical research centre at Swansea university has been opened.

The Institute of Life Science investigates a wide range of conditions including cancer, obesity and diabetes.

It is hoped 650 jobs will be created by the development, which has been funded by the Welsh government and the EU.

The new Centre for Nanohealth will develop technologies to speed up medical screening, including tiny biosensors that can detect disease.

The first phase of the institute, which opened in 2007, included laboratories and a supercomputer centre dedicated to medical research.

It is the research arm of the university's college of medicine.

The new phase was opened by the First Minister Carwyn Jones, who said it would provide business with skilled graduates and leading edge research.

"It is a unique collaboration between government, academia and the private sector that not only provides medical expertise and research, but also economic development by nurturing new companies and creating jobs," he added.

Image caption Carwyn Jones at the official opening

It received £10m in funding from the Welsh government and £12.8m from the European Union.

The extra facilities include 6,000 sq m (64,600 sq ft) of laboratories and office space.

The development is designed to boost commercial applications for research, with new businesses being established on site.

Prof Richard B Davies, vice-chancellor of Swansea University, said: "At a time of economic gloom, this is a remarkable good news story: medical research creating jobs and leading to improved medical care."

The Centre for Nanohealth is a joint initiative between the university's college of medicine and school of engineering. It also involves a partnership with the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board.

Researchers in the centre will develop new devices which can pick up the very earliest signs of disease.

The technology could include small, portable screening equipment that can analyse blood and tissue samples.

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