Medical technology firms are hotfooting it to Staffordshire after the county emerged as the UK's most cost effective region to locate in.
The Medical Technology brochure produced by InStaffs, the Inward Investment agency for Staffordshire, reveals that both private and public investment is flowing into the area at an unprecedented rate.
With an estimated £2 billion investment allocated for the next 15 years and costs of living 25 per cent lower than in London and the South-east, North Staffordshire is fast proving a popular draw for both UK and international firms.
Citing independent research from KPMG, InStaffs also identifies the area as the most cost effective in the country for biomedical research and development, clinical trials and related medical industries, with companies beginning to favour Stoke-on-Trent over traditional hotspots like Cambridge.
Among the firms which have already set up in the area is Biocomposites, which develops, manufactures and sell a growing range of devices for bone grafting, the dental market and sports medicine.
John de Kanter, chief executive of InStaffs, said: "North Staffordshire is being outlined as an ideal location for med tech businesses, not least because of dedicated clean room facilities and laboratory space currently available at Keele University.
"High levels of skilled labour are equally important. There are currently over 400,000 people living in our travel to work area and the location, right in the centre of the country, ensures easy access to and from all parts of the UK.
"We are also addressing future skill requirements through outstanding facilities at both Keele and Staffordshire universities, which offer cutting edge undergraduate, postgraduate and research programmes.
"There are over 3,000 students training to be doctors, nurses, midwives and social workers."
A wide network of medical and healthcare companies already operate in the area and its growing reputation has made it a natural location for medical administrators, with University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust creating 100 jobs through its new payroll centre in Stokeon-Trent and the NHS deciding to host one of its national ebooking pilots in the city.
Mr De Kanter said: "This sector represents a tremendous opportunity to put North Staffordshire on the map, something which is already happening with the development of Keele University Science and Business Park, where half of the innovation centres have been designed specifically for medical related businesses."
Major medical infrastructure projects include the £350 million redevelopment of the University Hospital of North Staffordshire and Keele University's £25 million medical school, including both lecture theatres and laboratories.
Christina Keey-Andersen, medical technologies cluster development manager at Advantage West Midlands, said: "This industry is thriving with a clutch of companies taking advantage of the supportive business environment.
"The region already has a number of innovative companies like Biocomposites, Cobra Biomanufacturing and Erigal - all specialists within their particular field.
"They are being joined by a growing number of firms, who all recognise the opportunity to expand within, or diversify into, the medical sector."