Celebrating European BioTech
Celebrating an innovative and vibrant global sector, 12th-16th October is European BioTech Week. Dr Diane Harbison, Managing Director of BioCity Scotland is our guest blogger and provides insight into the burgeoning BioTech sector in Scotland.
Modern biotechnology is a wide ranging area; however, most people recognise it as the process of providing breakthrough products and technologies to combat debilitating and rare diseases.
It’s been an exciting period in BioTech in Scotland. Since I joined BioCity Scotland just over a year ago, we have seen an increase in the number of creative and innovative companies receiving funding and looking to locate at our fantastic facility in Lanarkshire.
Clyde BioSciences, experts in the field of developmental drug testing, received funding from a £2 million ‘Series A’ investment led by Epidarex Capital the Scottish Investment Bank and Glasgow University Holdings, Ltd. Another tenant, Relitect secured a £750K tranched investment from IP Group Plc and the Scottish Investment Bank to develop its novel high sensitivity diagnostic.
Over the road at Maxim, TC BioPharm Ltd has raised £1.18 million in equity and grant funding to treat UK-based patients with melanoma, lung and kidney cancer. The investment was from Investing Women, Scotland’s only female angel group, and it marked its first major investment in leading the £680,000 investment with support from Scottish Investment Bank and WH Partnership.
The growing pipeline of companies looking to join our dynamic community reflects the confidence in the sector with several prospective tenants in the process of closing funding rounds prior to moving to our site.
The BioTech sector thrives on Innovation. In April of this year, we established BioCity Scotland’s Innovation Hub. The first of its kind in Scotland, the Hub formed a unique partnership between BioCity Scotland, Scottish universities, NHS Scotland, Innovation Centres, Bio-pharmaceutical and big data companies. This collaborative approach aims to foster the success of more start-up and spin out companies by giving them exceptional opportunities to learn from and work together with major healthcare practitioners, entrepreneurs and scientists. Partner Companies include Johnson & Johnson Innovation, venture capitalists Epidarex Capital, technology giant Toshiba and IBM.
The Scottish Government has long recognised the Life Sciences Sector as an economic driver for the Scottish economy.
In September 2015, after a leading a cross-party campaign with elected members of the Scottish and Westminster Parliament, the Scottish Government announced that BioCity Scotland would become Scotland’s 5th Enterprise Area – a move which could see employment boosted by 180 new jobs in the next five years. Having Enterprise Area Status means that businesses based at BioCity Scotland will be able to take advantage of business rates relief, faster planning applications, skills support and assistance in accessing international markets. These business benefits will be transformational for the companies located on our site.
45% of the companies with Life Science Sector in Scotland are developing Medical Devices and Diagnostic tools. Government recognition of the value of ‘clustering’ companies to create thriving eco-system came with the announcement of funding (as part of the Glasgow City Deal) to establish MediCity Scotland.
This will be a MedTech incubator, replicating in Scotland what we have achieved on our successful MediCity Nottingham site and enhancing what we can already offer MedTech projects or early start-up companies at BioCity Scotland.
MediCity Scotland will be the focal point for the Innovation Engine, our company creation activity based on lean entrepreneurship and the business model canvas. We are in the process of recruiting a Business Acceleration Manager to work with our existing Innovation Engine team, devising programmes and events to enable the creation and support of MedTech and Life Sciences companies.
It’s an exciting time to be working with young, entrepreneurial Life Sciences businesses and I look forward to more of them locating at BioCity and MediCity, adding to our thriving SME community and to the wider life sciences sector in Scotland.
If you are a Scottish Life Science company looking to drive growth, Eden Scott can connect you to the talent you require. Get in touch today and we can help you.