UCL establishes its presence at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst

12 March 2014

UCL has established its presence in the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC) through moving three research projects into laboratory space there.

These projects – together with Puridify, a spin-off company of UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering – will properly establish UCL’s presence in SBC.

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst press release

The initiative is part of UCL’s drive to engage more closely with the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries for translating its research to meaningful innovation for improving patients’ health and quality of life.

These research projects have been strategically chosen by UCL’s Translational Research Office in the UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences and by UCL Business PLC (UCLB), the university’s technology transfer company. They were selected because of their commercialisation potential and the benefits that the SBC open innovation campus will offer.

The innovative model will see academic and industry research staff work side-by-side on potential therapeutics in a way which, it is hoped, will speed their development and delivery to patients.

The projects – which are co-funded by the Higher Education Funding Council England (HEFCE) catalyst fund and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre – have taken up residence in separate laboratories with state of art facilities for research in chemistry, biology and clean manufacturing.

The first research project is from the laboratory of Professors Alexander Seifalian and George Hamilton to develop vascular and coronary artery bypass grafts. It will be project managed by UCLB, who will develop laboratory space in the SBC into a clean manufacturing environment for a first-in-human clinical investigation of a new generation of biocompatible grafts.

The second project in the chemistry laboratory will use a novel platform of chemistries, developed by the teams of Professor Stephen Caddick and Dr James Baker – co-founders of ThioLogics Ltd – to develop well-defined, stable and consistent antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) for the treatment of cancer. ADCs combine the unique targeting capabilities of antibodies with the cancer-killing ability of cytotoxic drugs. 

The Stevenage Biosciences Catalyst provides unrivalled incubation facilities for the progression of frontier research, all in an open innovation environment which is optimised for working with industry which should accelerate the progression of these projects for economic and health benefit.

Professor Stephen Caddick (UCL Vice-Provost, Enterprise)

The third project will be located within the biology laboratory and will be led by Professor Rachel Chambers from UCL’s Centre for Inflammation and Tissue Repair within the Division of Medicine. The project under the day-to-day direction of Dr Andrew Williams, will investigate potential therapeutics for the treatment of neutrophilic inflammation.

Commenting on these projects, Professor Sir John Tooke, Vice-Provost (Health) at UCL, said:

“UCL has made a strategic decision to take up lab space in SBC to accelerate the translation of cutting edge research into new therapeutic opportunities.

“The projects have been chosen because of their high potential to benefit from the collaborative research environment in the Catalyst. The relationships built from such work will foster the collaborative environment between academia and medical science industries so vital for medical innovation.”

Professor Stephen Caddick, Vice-Provost (Enterprise) at UCL, said:

“The Stevenage Biosciences Catalyst provides unrivalled incubation facilities for the progression of frontier research, all in an open innovation environment which is optimised for working with industry which should accelerate the progression of these projects for economic and health benefit.

“My team and I are looking forward to progressing our own specific programme and bringing the benefits to patients in the future.”

Dr Martino Picardo, CEO of the Stevenage Biosciences Catalyst, said:

“We are delighted to welcome UCL’s projects to the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst.

“UCL’s research in the field of medical and life sciences is world-leading and once commercialised successfully, these projects stand potentially to make a real contribution to the health and quality of life of patients.”

Professor Bryan Williams, Director of the National Institute for Health Research UCL Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre, added:

“We are delighted at the BRC that this initiative is moving into the next phase. I see this as a crucial move in our bid to fast track the development of new treatments that will have a direct effect on patient care.

“The arrival of three ground-breaking UCL research projects at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst opens up an exciting new future.”

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