Editor’s note: Allan Maurer covers biotech and life sciences for Local Tech Wire.

PINEHURST–Invest UK, a British government effort to help United States companies interested in doing business in the United Kingdom, says it caught a “good buzz” its third year presenting a seminar at the Southeastern BIO conference last week.

The UK is home to the largest biotech industry in the world outside the United States with $13 billion in annual revenue. It includes 300 dedicated biotech companies and 450 related companies.

This year, J. Glen Whitley, vice counsul, investment, of the British Consulate-General in Atlanta, David J. Rhodes, head of business development for the UK Centre for Applied Microbiology and Research (CAMR) and Kristen Hirst, senior vice president of the North of England Inward Investment Agency, attended.

Whitley tells Local Tech Wire the group found that U.S. companies with an interest in opening a UK office was “much better than a year ago because business itself is better.” He points out that Invest UK helped about half a dozen companies all last year, but has already done that many in the first half of this fiscal year.

“The reception, networking and contacts we made this year were much better than last year,” he adds. “We had a good buzz.”

The all-day seminar last Monday hosted by Invest UK included a session by Bruce Lowery, chief financial officer of Triangle-based Scynexis, who was responsible for opening the company’s UK office.

Rhodes told the seminar about the partnering efforts of CAMR, which gets half its income from the private sector. “The industry in North Carolina is at an earlier stage of development than in Boston or the Bay area of California, but new and emerging companies may be our clients in years to come. The Research Triangle is obviously developing into a real biotech hub,” he says.

Hirst says that while Whitley convinces companies to open offices in UK, hers provide information on the attractions of Northern England, where the nation’s second largest biotech cluster is located around Manchester. The largest cluster is around the Cambridge region.

“There are a lot of synergies between the Southeast U.S. and the Manchester area,” says Hirst. “We have four new incubators, a lot of cancer research, and more. Just last month we helped the Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, establish a relationship with Liverpool University.”

All said they are interested in talking to companies that may be interested in opening UK operations.

UK Invest: uktradeinvestusa.com

North England Investment Agency: wwwthenoe.com