Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst welcomes Cambridge University researchers

First academic tenant moves onto the open innovation bioscience campus

A new centre of innovation for the University of Cambridge is to be sited at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC), the UK’s first open innovation bioscience campus, to advance drug discovery and the development of new medicines.

SBC is an independent facility formed as a joint venture between the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the Wellcome Trust, the East of England Development Agency, and the Technology Strategy Board. The site opened for business in February, and Cambridge University is the first academic tenant.

SBC, which focuses on early-stage drug discovery and development, provides a unique and collaborative environment for companies large and small. With proximity to GSK’s Research and Development Centre, tenants have access to the expertise, networks and scientific facilities traditionally associated with multinational pharmaceutical companies.

Patrick Vallance, president of Pharmaceuticals R&D at GlaxoSmithKline, said: ‘This open innovation approach is enabling scientists who might not ordinarily have interacted to build relationships, share ideas and seek advice. This environment provides us with an opportunity to stimulate research and translate science into the discovery of new medicines for patients.’

It is hoped that the new agreement with the University of Cambridge will serve as a catalyst for similar relationships with other universities and strengthen links to the Cambridge biocluster.

Cambridge Enterprise, the university’s commercialisation arm, will facilitate the programme.

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge, said: ‘This is a highly innovative way to develop publicly funded scientific research to create new medicines to treat disease, bringing together partners with shared goals and capitalising on what each does best. Cambridge is constantly searching for new and more effective ways to get its research out into the world where it can make a difference, working with our many partners, including companies such as GSK.’

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