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Work progressing on Scotland's 'unique' biotech campus

Published on 07/07/06 at 02:10pm

Plans to make Scotland a major centre for innovative biotech and pharmaceutical research are progressing, with a major new centre attracting interest from industry.

Government body Scottish Enterprise is currently overseeing the creation of a new life sciences centre on the outskirts of Edinburgh, which it says will be unique in bringing academics, clinicians and commercial companies together on one site.

Scheduled to open in 2008, the Centre for Biomedical Research (CBR) will offer more than 500,000 sq ft of academic research space and 900,000 sq ft for commercial research-based companies.

A spokesman for Scottish Enterprise said: "The scale of this development is unique in the UK, because we have incorporated the three elements - academia, clinical practice and biomedicine - all together, where they can commit to and attract each other."

He added: "We believe we are at the cutting edge of this approach." He indicated that several other European countries were pursuing similar plans, but believes Scotland has the lead over rival sites.

The initial infrastructure of the 200 million pound biomedical research park has now been completed with Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh & Lothian leading a strategic partnership.

Members of the partnership include Edinburgh University, the City of Edinburgh Council, Lothian University Hospitals NHS Trust and the Scottish Executive to develop the site.

The first 10 plots have already been developed and three have already been reserved, with interest from a range of big and small companies in pharma and biotech.

There has been significant interest from a range of companies looking at the CBR as a place to locate to, the spokesman added. This has involved discussions with a broad spectrum of players, ranging from large pharmaceutical companies to medical devices companies.

Perhaps Scotland's most famous biotech development was the sheep, Dolly, the worlds first cloned mammal, created 10 years ago at the Roslin Institute near Edinburgh.

Scotland's emerging role in biotech was further underlined earlier this year when Wyeth Pharmaceuticals announced the creation of the Translational Medicine Research Collaboration (TMRC).

Wyeth has poured almost $86 million into the partnership, which will comprise the four major medical universities in Scotland (Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow), Scottish Enterprise and the NHS.

Biotech 'clusters', first established in the US along similar lines to other hi-tech industries, are seen as the best way to encourage innovation, sharing of knowledge and generate investment.

In England, Oxford and Cambridge both have major science parks, which are home to a number of emerging biotech and other cutting-edge technology companies.

Oxford BioMedica and PowderMed are among almost 60 companies operating at the Oxford cluster, while Amgen and Domantis are two of the 70 or so at the Cambridge site.


Related links:

Cambridge Science Park

Oxford Science Park 

Centre for Biomedical Research (Edinburgh)

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