Biotechnology incubator will be the first of its kind on a hospital site and will encourage academic institutions, the NHS and businesses to work more closely together
New technology is to be developed with the potential to save
lives throughout the world following the approval of a specialist
biotechnology incubator to be built at Papworth Hospital NHS
Foundation Trust in Cambridgeshire.
"We are delighted to be
working with East of England Development Agency (EEDA) and the
commercial sector to develop this new project.
incubator will be the first of its kind on a hospital site and we
see this as an exciting opportunity to develop new products and
ideas that will ultimately benefit the NHS, its patients and the
business world." said Stephen Bridge, chief executive,
The incubator costing £2million is to be
completed and have its first tenants by the summer of 2005 with
the ambition to encourage academic institutions, the NHS and
businesses to work more closely.
EEDA has provided £1.4m of
funding with the remaining balance coming from Papworth Hospital.
The incubator hopes to attract companies engaged in the
development of new medical devices for the treatment of
cardiovascular or respiratory diseases.
These companies will most
likely be spin-offs from research previously carried out at the
hospital and local universities or firms which would benefit from
working on an NHS site.
Kate Phillips, head of sectors and
innovation at EEDA, said: "Life sciences is a fundamentally
important sector for our region and incubators such as the one to
be built at Papworth will have benefits for everyone involved.
"It is the health sector which defines the need for medical
technology and biotechnology.
"Vital to the success of this
project is the ability for NHS R and D staff to work with
business, academics and medical device experts to produce new
"These new devices will then potentially be
available to everyone throughout the NHS".
It is hoped that
as companies grow and move on they maintain a link to the
hospital to develop their products through the supply of tissue
or clinical expertise.
Phillips continues: "The NHS is a
massive organisation which employs a large number of people and
therefore has a tremendous impact upon the country's
"However if you are a small or medium sized company
it can seem to be an impregnable market, for example in the East
of England there are 67 Health Care Trusts, if you had a product
to sell where would you begin? Initiatives like the Papworth
Incubator will improve access and dialogue.
"At EEDA we want
to help solve this perceived problem, by encouraging all sides to
come together: entrepreneurs, the NHS, researchers and patients.
If we get this right and the incubator becomes a centre of
expertise and new products there will be a positive impact on
"Ultimately it is the patients who will
benefit most with better treatments, fewer side effects and less
time spent in hospital - lives will not only be improved but in
some cases extended and saved".
Work on the new unit will
begin with specially constructed modular buildings being put in
place during the spring of 2005.
The Incubator will provide a
total space of 1200sq metres of commercial space to be broken
down into units.