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Minister opens new facilities to boost bioscience business

24 May 2012

Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, opened new bioscience facilities for business start-ups at the Babraham Research Campus today. The new building is part of ongoing development at Babraham following investment to deliver innovation from the research base, generate economic growth and to create and support new companies and jobs based on world-leading bioscience.

The Minister officially opened a new bioincubator building, Moneta, which offers businesses access to capital equipment, provides small, flexible laboratory space, and allows companies to be part of a research driven campus.

Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts said: "Thanks to recent investment Babraham is expanding and nurturing biomedical companies. The new facilities at the Moneta building will allow world-leading academics to rub shoulders with business, driving innovation and helping commercialise research."

During the visit, the Minister also cut the turf at the site of a new follow-on laboratory. This new development will accommodate companies throughout an intermediate stage; early-stage companies that need to utilise facilities at Babraham in order to grow. The follow-on laboratory will accommodate a diverse, growing set of companies during this developmental period.

Other developments at the site include improved infrastructure, including roads and utilities, and a new composting facility.

Professor Michael Wakelam, Director of the Babraham Institute said: "We are delighted to show the Minister the progress that we are making to support economic growth here at Babraham, a research-led campus that builds on the world-leading BBSRC-funded research of the Babraham Institute. As a leading hub of life sciences innovation in the UK, the Babraham Research Campus plays a key role in supporting early-stage biomedical enterprises, while also helping to attract inward investment. These new facilities will enable us to build on our current strengths and support the life sciences industry in both the region and the UK."

While visiting the Campus, the Minister also highlighted £250M funding that will ensure the UK's bioscience research base remains globally competitive and at the forefront of meeting the grand challenges faced by society in the coming decades.

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has allocated the strategic investment that includes 26 strategic science programmes and 14 key national research capabilities, to be delivered by eight of the UK's world-leading bioscience research institutes and their university partners.

£37M has been allocated to the Babraham Institute, including a Strategic Program Grant to improve understanding of immunology. This will have important implications for supporting healthy, longer lives as the population ages.

Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: "By almost all measures the UK has the world's best bioscience research base. BBSRC's strategic funding of institutes with distinct missions and unique national facilities is one of the reasons we achieve this. However, being the best doesn't mean much unless you make a difference in the world. Through their close links with industry and policy makers, and through engaging the public, the institutes are at the forefront of translating fundamental bioscience into products, services and advice.

"This investment is a major commitment to realising the potential of a bio-based economy in the UK. This is only possible through a sustainable, excellent fundamental research base with the right people, skills and facilities."

ENDS

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About the Babraham Institute

The Babraham Institute, which receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), undertakes international quality life sciences research to generate new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing, development and the maintenance of health. The institute received £22.4M investment from BBSRC in 2010-11. The Institute's research provides greater understanding of the biological events that underlie the normal functions of cells and the implication of failure or abnormalities in these processes. Research focuses on signalling and genome regulation, particularly the interplay between the two and how epigenetic signals can influence important physiological adaptations during the lifespan of an organism. By determining how the body reacts to dietary and environmental stimuli and manages microbial and viral interactions, we aim to improve wellbeing and healthier ageing. ( www.babraham.ac.uk)

About Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd.

Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd is the commercial arm of the Babraham Institute, an institute which receives strategic funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) devoted to life sciences 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. Website: www.babraham.co.uk

About BBSRC

BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by Government, and with an annual budget of around £445M, we support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see: www.bbsrc.ac.uk .
For more information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes see: www.bbsrc.ac.uk/institutes .

Contact

Rob Dawson, Head of News, BBSRC External Relations Unit

tel: 01793 413204