Imperial College London is to invest in a new facility at the Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge to support spin-out and scale-up companies, and maximise the impact of research from universities.
The move expands Imperial’s capacity to support fast-growing science- and technology-based companies alongside its existing London facilities, including the College’s new research and innovation district, Imperial West in White City.
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd (BBT) and Imperial announced today the signing of a long-term lease on BBSRC-owned land at the Babraham Research Campus.
Professor David Gann CBE, Vice President (Development & Innovation) at Imperial College London, said: ‘Our move to invest in facilities at Babraham underlines Imperial’s commitment to create value from ideas, wherever we and our partners are best-placed to thrive.
‘We are determined to help technology spin-outs with specialist support, and the space to grow and scale-up. This collaboration strengthens our ability to create conditions for science-based ventures to flourish, opening-up new opportunities and revenue streams to support the College’s academic mission.’
The development is led by Imperial College ThinkSpace, a provider of high quality laboratory and office workspaces to companies at every stage of their growth.
The first tenant will be Abzena plc, a biopharmaceutical firm which already employs over 90 staff on the Babraham campus. Abzena comprises two wholly owned subsidiary businesses – PolyTherics and Antitope – which work together to create better antibodies and proteins with enhanced therapeutic benefits. The new facility will allow both businesses’ scientists and support teams to be housed in the same building, and in a cutting-edge R&D environment to support the work they undertake for their customers and the in-house R&D they do to broaden their technologies.
PolyTherics was established with intellectual property from research undertaken at Imperial College London and received investment from Imperial Innovations, the technology commercialisation company founded as Imperial College London’s technology transfer office. Innovations remains one of the largest shareholders in Abzena plc following its public listing in July 2014.
John Burt, CEO of Abzena, the new facility’s first tenant, said: ”We are delighted that Imperial College London, BBSRC and BBT are working together to provide additional space for bioscience companies to grow on the Babraham Research Campus and Abzena looks forward to being the anchor tenant in the new building.’
Imperial will construct an integrated office and laboratory building at Babraham to host enterprises established from the College’s research, taking advantage of the Babraham campus’ unique life sciences innovation environment to grow. Subject to detailed planning consent, Imperial will build a 49,500 sq ft facility, expected to be completed in late 2016. It is expected that BBT will manage the building on behalf of Imperial.