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Where science and business meet

Babraham Institute hosts inaugural BioAcademic Showcase to foster links with industry

22 July 2011

Getting scientists to work closely with industry is an essential part of transferring technological breakthroughs from laboratory to wider social and economic benefit. To this end, Babraham Bioscience Technologies (BBT), the commercial arm of the Babraham Institute, which receives strategic funding from BBSRC, hosted the inaugural Cambridge BioAcademic Showcase.

The 6 July event brought leading academic research institutions together with industry to explore research synergy and opportunities for future collaboration. The event showcased the research of 15 scientists selected from The Babraham Institute, The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, The MRC's Laboratory of Molecular Biology, The University of Cambridge and Anglia Ruskin University and attracted over 100 delegates from the life sciences community.

Representatives from local and international companies including MedImmune, GSK, Abcam, Cellzome, Pfizer, Merck and biotech companies from the Babraham Campus gathered to hear the highlights from local researchers, which ranged from antibody therapies and novel biotherapeutics to genomic approaches to personalise cancer treatments and innovative approaches using stem cells for genetic screening. A number of investors also attended from the Imperial Innovations and Corporate Venture groups.

Babraham hosts an expanding base of scientific entrepreneurs. Image: Babraham Institute

Babraham hosts an expanding base of scientific entrepreneurs. Image: Babraham Institute

The event was conceived to bring together potential partners from the different realms of the discovery process and increase early-stage collaboration between industry and academia. Dr Rob Pinnock, Director Scientific Liaison at Merck, sponsors of the event, gave the keynote lecture outlining new approaches to enable the pharmacological sector to engage effectively with the academic research base.

As a leading hub of life sciences innovation in the UK, the Babraham Research Campus plays a key role supporting the region's early-stage biomedical enterprises. In the March 2011 Budget, the UK Government announced that £44M would be awarded to the Babraham Research Campus to support bioscience innovation, demonstrating the Government's commitment to science and cutting-edge research. The funding comes from an extra £100M for capital/infrastructure investment for science.

BBT's latest pioneering event was designed to bring early-stage academic research with commercialisation potential to the attention of industry to foster knowledge exchange between academia and industry as well as within academia.

Dr Klaus Okkenhaug, one of Babraham's Group Leaders whose research has identified potential non-immunosuppressive cancer therapies, said the event succeeded in showcasing some of the most exciting and innovative biomedical research going on the Cambridge area and provided opportunities to meet with company executives in an informal environment.

Derek Jones, BBT's CEO said the BioAcademic Showcase was an ideal forum to bring together academia and industry to better understand each others' needs and to help identify research areas that are of greatest interest and present an opportunity for commercialisation.


Arran Frood

tel: 01793 413329