BioCity Scotland opens on former Merck site

The site will be turned into a dedicated base for life science start-ups

BioCity Scotland, a joint venture between BioCity Nottingham and Roslin BioCentre in Midlothian, has acquired the former MSD research facility at Newhouse, Lanarkshire. The plan is to turn the site into a dedicated base in central Scotland for bioscience, pharmaceutical, medical technology and healthcare companies.

MSD closed the site in 2010 with the loss of 250 jobs following its £30m takeover of Schering-Plough.

The site includes 130,000ft2 of purpose-built laboratories on the 23-acre site, which are capable of supporting pre-clinical drug discovery and development by a range of independent companies. It will complement the existing provision of space for life science firms in Scotland by catering for start-up and growing companies wanting a central base on the M8 just 15 miles from Glasgow and 33 miles from Edinburgh city centres.

In addition to the laboratory and office space, BioCity Scotland provides access to state-of-the-art equipment, including high-throughput screening, nuclear magnetic resonance machines, mass spectrometers, HPLCs, electrophysiology and cell culture suites, centrifuges and freezers, which will be available to rent at competitive rates.

A compound management system and a library of 100,000 compounds is also part of the offering.

BioCity Scotland chairman Louis Nisbet said: ‘BioCity Scotland is much more than a property proposition – it will be a unique, vibrant community of scientific companies. Just a short drive from Scotland’s two largest cities, it is ideally situated to attract the cream of life science talent. BioCity Nottingham’s success in nurturing and growing more than 70 new companies since 2003, and Roslin’s expertise in life sciences innovation and facilities management makes this team the perfect commercial partnership. The work starts now, the prospects are boundless.’

Chris Hill, MSD vice president and the former head of MSD’s Newhouse facility, said: ‘This is a fantastic outcome for the life sciences community in Scotland and the wider UK.

‘The ongoing commercial operation of the site will attract investment to the local area generating employment opportunities for local communities and the success of this development will play a significant role in securing the future of life sciences in Scotland.’