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BBSRC-supported bioincubator facilities open at Babraham Research Campus

Visit the Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd websiteVisit Babraham Institute website

16 November 2010

New bioincubator facilities at the Babraham Research Campus have been officially opened by Dr Julian Huppert, MP. The facilities, in a new building named Maia, provide seven early-stage biomedical companies with new research premises and access to the world-class bioscience and state-of-the-art facilities at the Babraham Institute.

The new building, supported with funding from BBSRC, brings the total lab space for new bio-based ventures on the Babraham site to around 70,000 sq ft. The Babraham Research Campus currently hosts 28 ventures.

The Maia Building 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 of 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.

ENDS

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About Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd

Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd is the commercial arm of the Babraham Institute, an institute of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) devoted to biomedical research. BBT promotes, supports and encourages academic and commercial biomedical research locally, regionally and nationally. BBT delivers the Knowledge Exchange remit of the Institute and is responsible for managing the Babraham Research Campus' Bioincubator, currently home to around 30 early-stage biomedical companies. BBT brings together all the elements to support innovation and enable the successful exploitation of research in the biomedical sector based on technologies emanating from the Babraham Institute and bioventures relocating to the campus. BBT has taken a prominent role regionally, initiating and leading partnerships to promote knowledge and skills flow and has established a reputation for successfully translating innovative science into viable business opportunities through partnerships for wealth creation. www.babraham.com

About The Babraham Institute

The Babraham Institute, an institute of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) located near Cambridge, undertakes international quality research to support the biomedical aspects of the BBSRC's mission. The Institute's research is focused on understanding the biological events that underlie the normal functions of cells and the implication of failure or abnormalities in these processes. The latest technologies are being used to study the basis of conditions such as neurodegenerative disorders, birth defects, cancer and diseases of the immune and cardiovascular systems. With a strategic focus on 'healthy ageing', novel approaches for tackling chronic diseases and public health concerns like obesity and inflammatory disorders are being discovered. www.babraham.ac.uk

About BBSRC

BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £450M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the UK  and beyond and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

BBSRC provides institute strategic research grants to the following:

  • The Babraham Institute
  • Institute for Animal Health
  • Institute for Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (Aberystwyth University)
  • Institute of Food Research
  • John Innes Centre
  • The Genome Analysis Centre
  • The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh)
  • Rothamsted Research

The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.

External contact

Dr Claire Cockcroft, Head of External Relations, The Babraham Institute

tel: 01223 496260
mob: 07786 335978