MP officially opens new Bioincubator building

November 17, 2010 11:09 AM

Julian HuppertA further 8,000 sq ft of Bioincubator facilities at the Babraham Research Campus was officially opened by Dr Julian Huppert, MP, last week, providing seven early-stage biomedical companies with new research premises and access to state-of-the-art facilities at the Babraham Institute. The campus now provides around 70,000 sq ft lab space to 28 bioventures in the heart of the Cambridge biomedical cluster. The new Building, Maia, has been designed to provide flexible facilities particularly for early-stage companies.

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert said, "I was delighted to be invited to the opening of the new Bioincubator building. It is encouraging to see how, even in these difficult economic times, the relationship between academic research and start-up companies continues to grow. This new facility will help to develop further the city's link between ground breaking research and innovation while at the same time offering much needed accommodation around Cambridge for these early-stage biomedical companies. I wish them all every success for the future."

The campus has attracted some of the most exciting new generation antibody companies in Europe, continuing the Cambridge legacy of world-class excellence in monoclonal antibody research. Prior to the official opening, antibody pioneer Sir Gregory Winter, FRS, delivered the 2010 Bioenterprise Lecture, explaining the importance of biologicals, like antibodies, as future therapeutics. He explained, "In recent years, therapeutic antibodies have become best selling pharmaceutical drugs. Cambridge scientists, institutions and companies have played a major role in this success, from early invention to product development. The opening of new research facilities at Babraham for early stage companies is very good news for the development of the antibodies of the future."

The campus has recently attracted four biologics companies - Kymab a spin-out from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Bicycle Therapeutics from the MRC-LMB, Recombinant Antibody Technologies - based in Maia and Babraham spin-out Crescendo Biologics, established in the Meditrina Building, whose technology is derived from research funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). Alpha Biologics, a manufacturer of monoclonal antibodies, also moved into Maia, expanding from smaller premises on the campus.

"This cluster of commercial excellence in antibody technology complements the Babraham Institute's world-renowned expertise in monoclonal antibody development. This research has paved the way for exciting approaches to produce human antibodies for therapeutic use," explained Professor Michael Wakelam, Director of the Babraham Institute. "An attraction of Babraham's Bioincubator is the opportunity for companies to interact with the academic science base, whose BBSRC-funded research is directed towards understanding the basic bioscience underpinning health. The institute is committed to knowledge exchange and facilitating academic-commercial links to drive innovation and wealth creation in the UK."

Derek Jones, Chief Executive of Babraham Bioscience Technologies (BBT) added, "Much of the pioneering work in monoclonal antibodies has been carried out at Babraham and in the Cambridge area. Our Bioincubator provides an ideal location and facilities to ensure that companies have the best start that they can. With the addition of our new building, Maia, the campus offers a greater range of facilities of flexible size, enabling companies to remain on campus as they expand."

Maia was constructed with financial support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), which supports the Babraham Institute. Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive said, "The new incubator building at Babraham will help drive the continuing success of the campus in attracting biotech companies and supporting their development. The Babraham Research Campus maximises economic growth and job creation by drawing on the critical mass of world-class BBSRC bioscience and important facilities at the Babraham Institute and its strong community of small biotech companies."

As an Institute supported by BBSRC, the Babraham Institute is contributing to the Council's strategy to use bioscience to meet major social and economic challenges. The institute undertakes basic biomedical research and the translation of this knowledge is leading to patents, innovative approaches for therapeutic strategies to tackle healthcare challenges and the creation of new companies.

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