STEVENAGE, England, July 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
Rt Hon David Willetts MP Launches Key Phase of Bioincubator Development
Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC), the UK's first open innovation bioscience campus, is pleased to announce that its topping-out ceremony will be performed today by the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science. The ceremony, a symbolic celebration of laying the final portion of cement, marks a milestone in the project's construction. The incubator now enters its final phase of building prior to opening at the beginning of 2012.
The topping-out ceremony will be followed by speeches from Martino Picardo, CEO of SBC, the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Patrick Vallance, Senior Vice President of Medicines Discovery and Development, GlaxoSmithKIine, and Ted Bianco, Director of Technology Transfer, Wellcome Trust. The Minister will then be updated on progress at SBC and some of the key features of the project, such as the extensive use of photovoltaic panels to capture solar energy.
Martino Picardo, CEO of the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, says 'The Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst team is delighted that the Minister is joining us to celebrate the progress of this key multi-stakeholder investment in UK life sciences. We would like to recognise the hard work so far of Mace, our builder, and the contractors that work with it, as well as the ongoing support of our stakeholders. In its role as an Open Innovation incubator, SBC will facilitate the development of a range of companies, from virtual and start-up firms to more established ones, thereby helping to rejuvenate the UK life sciences sector. As we move towards our opening next year, we are therefore actively engaging with potential tenants, academia, charities and funding bodies such as venture capital organisations.'
Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, says, 'The SBC will provide start-ups with vital access to expert knowledge and research, strong links with leading pharmaceutical companies and high quality facilities. This will help them develop cutting edge medical advances. This important milestone is another step towards sustainable growth with businesses coming together to share ideas with world leaders. Working together at all stages will encourage new products and quicker development.'
Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is a joint venture between the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills, GlaxoSmithKline, the Wellcome Trust, the East of England Development Agency and the Technology Strategy Board. The £38m development will be an independent bioscience facility and is due to open in Q1 2012.
About Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst
Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is the UK's first open innovation bioscience campus, pioneering a unique culture to drive early stage drug discovery and development. It is backed by £38m of funding from its founding partners - GlaxoSmithKline, the Wellcome Trust, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Technology Strategy Board and the East of England Development Agency. Scheduled to open in Q1 2012, buildings in Phase 1 of the development consist of an Incubator, an Accelerator and a Hub, covering 60,000 sq ft of laboratory, office and networking space. The independent facility is expected to house a range of companies, from virtual and start-up firms to those which are more established. Located on the GlaxoSmithKline Stevenage site, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is in the unique position of operating in proximity to the expertise and resources of a major pharmaceutical company, close to both London and Cambridge. For more information, please go to http://www.stevenagecatalyst.com.
About Open Innovation
Firms using Open Innovation (OI) combine their own R&D with externally sourced ideas and expertise. OI is characterised by highly effective use of connections and networks to exchange knowledge and ideas, external partners being involved at all stages of product development, equitable win-win business relationships, and new business models to maximise the value of intellectual property and other assets. Examples in various sectors have shown that the benefits of OI include reduced time to market for new products and services, access to new markets, improved innovation success rates and increased profits. SBC will promote use of Open Innovation within the life sciences sector, connecting SMEs with an active network consisting of GlaxoSmithKline and its other stakeholders, academia, charities, other businesses and funding bodies. The term 'Open Innovation' and related research into its practice has been developed extensively by Professor Henry Chesbrough, Executive Director of the Program in Open Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley (http://openinnovation.berkeley.edu).
GSK aims to improve the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. This mission gives us the purpose to develop innovative medicines and products that help millions of people around the world. Every hour we spend more than £300,000 (US$562,000) in our search for new medicines that can make a difference to patients.We are one of the pharmaceutical industry leaders, with an estimated seven per cent of the world's pharmaceutical market and one of the few companies researching both medicines and vaccines for the World Health Organization's three priority diseases - HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. As a company with a firm foundation in science, we have a flair for research and a track record of turning that research into powerful, marketable drugs.
About the Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. The Trust's breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests. http://www.wellcome.ac.uk
EEDA's mission has been to improve the economy of the East of England through helping businesses prosper, supporting people to be the best they can and breathing new life into places. Working with others we have helped improve the lives of thousands of people with investments that will continue to have an impact for decades to come. EEDA works across the six counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk , and unitary authorities of Central Bedfordshire, Bedford , Luton, Peterborough , Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock. In the Emergency Budget of 22 June 2010, the government confirmed its intention to abolish all regional development agencies (RDAs) and replace them with Local Enterprise Partnerships. EEDA will close by March 2012. Visit http://www.eeda.org.uk to find out more.
About the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.
About the Technology Strategy Board
The Technology Strategy Board works to drive economic growth by making the UK a global leader in innovation. Established by the government, the Technology Strategy Board helps business to innovate faster and more effectively than would otherwise be possible. It uses its expertise, connections and funding to enable collaborations and partnerships between businesses, researchers and government, and to help business to create innovative products and services which will meet market needs, tackle the challenges of our time and build the economy of tomorrow.
Photos will be available upon request
For more information, please contact:
Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst
Martino Picardo, CEO
Emma Palmer Foster
Strategic Communications Consultant
Rt Hon David Willetts MP
Emma Griffiths, Press Office
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
SOURCE Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst