The growth of biosciences in the east of England is poised to expand further following millions of pounds worth of investment at the Babraham Bioincubator in Cambridge
The East of England Development Agency (EEDA), in partnership with the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Babraham Bioscience Technologies (BBT) has today agreed to contribute £2million towards the construction of a new £7million Bioincubator.
The construction of the building, to be called Meditrina, the Roman goddess of medicine, on the Babraham Research Campus will commence in September 2006 and will provide accommodation and business support 10-14 companies at any one time in the facilities when it opens in September 2007.
As one of the first 'enterprise hubs' in the region back in 2003, the success of the Babraham Bioincubator is reflected in the fact that it has operated at full capacity since 2001 and this now includes its Minerva building which took its first tenant in September 2005.
Meditrina will provide 1900m2 of customised laboratory and office space creating 18 units that offer flexible accommodation for start-up and early stage bioventures.
David Marlow, chief executive of EEDA, said: "Bioscience is one of the fastest growing sectors of the East of England economy which is bringing international recognition and investment to the region.
"At EEDA, we understand the importance of funding those who are just beginning to succeed in their chosen industry which is why we see the £2million investment at Babraham as the opportunity to cultivate future growth.
"Babraham BioConcepts has been enormously successfully in the last three years.
"Our hub programme is designed to help improve the commercialisation and exploitation of research and development, and also provide businesses with improved linkages to higher education and larger, research-intensive corporate businesses in the same field.
"Babraham's achievement has been to get the best individuals and small firms to set up at their centre and they have given them the space to grow and develop - a philosophy which is at the very heart of EEDA's hopes for enterprise hubs".
David Hardman, chief executive of BBT said: "The creation of a supportive, entrepreneurial environment promoting bioscience innovation is BBT's objective as it develops the Babraham Research Campus and EEDA's continued support of our activities is very important.
"We are committed to catalysing successful knowledge transfer through a flexible approach to facilities and services provision on terms that reflect the stage of development of ventures locating to the Babraham Research Campus.
"The capital grant will enable BBT to expand its bioincubator offering and we believe that through this sort of partnership with EEDA and others, we can continue to increase the chances that these fledgling biotechnology businesses will flourish."