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Exclusive Interview:Dr Ian Brewis, Central Biotechnology Services

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Dr Ian Brewis of Central Biotechnology Services has been speaking to ourselves here at Business News Wales. Giving us an insight into his career and his thoughts on the Life Sciences sector in Wales.

Tell us about yourself and your business/organisation.

I am Operational Director at Central Biotechnology Services, which is part of Cardiff University. We offer expertise and a range of platforms in three themed areas; Genomics and Bioinformatics, Proteins and Diagnostics and Cell Analysis and Imaging, to Cardiff University researchers and external organisations.

What are your plans for the next five years, and where do you see your challenges and opportunities?

We will continue to develop the state-of-the-art resources we offer our stakeholders. There are opportunities to develop the external portfolio we have. We aim to do more work with external customers, not only for financial reasons but also the other opportunities that this activity can offer. There are lots of examples of where commercial interactions have allowed us to develop new collaborations, particularly research collaborations. While the money we bring is important we are focused on the added value of the interactions. The main challenges we face are that technologies are becoming ever more specialised and expensive.

Why do you think life sciences is such an exciting sector to be involved with at the moment?

For many years it’s been pretty high profile but with a range of initiatives, not least the Life Sciences Hub Wales, we now have a real focus in this region. There’s now a critical mass; the sector is big enough to have tremendous opportunities but it’s not so big as to be unstructured. There are exciting links to other clusters overseas as well.

What challenges does life sciences face in the next five years?

Resourcing is difficult. Developing jobs and bringing money into the region involves more global interactions. That balance needs to be struck. We have to be doing things that are international but that also have a clear benefit for our region.

What is exciting about your particular field/area? 

We have some new, exciting platforms, particularly diagnostic and imaging platforms we are looking to bring online in the near future. More widely there’s also the Precision Medicine Catapult in Cardiff and the Clinical Innovation Partnership between Cardiff University and the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, which offer exciting opportunities.

What advice would you give to anyone who is interested in working in the life sciences sector?

There are so many opportunities across the sector in a range of roles. My advice would be to talk to as many people as possible in the sector. People will be happy to help and give advice, so get out there and wear out the shoe leather in establishing a network for yourself.

What do you think are the most important qualities for success in the life sciences sector?

Focus and perseverance are words I would use. Often business deals take a lot of time to finalise. It can be helpful to break work up into small steps towards your bigger goal.