BioCity Scotland hails outstanding first year of operation

3 January 2012

BioCity Scotland, the country's largest incubation centre for life science businesses in Newhouse, Lanarkshire will celebrate the first anniversary of its formation on 5 January 2013.

The 18 acre (7.3ha) site was officially handed to the new company by global pharmaceutical company MSD for the creation of a bioscience business incubator to support new and growing life science ventures. At the time, BioCity made a commitment to bring the facility to life again, and within weeks the first companies were moving onto the site.

Since the official opening, BioCity Scotland has started to populate the once-vacant laboratories and offices by attracting start-up tenants, university spin-outs and well-established bioscience companies. To date, eleven companies have joined BioCity. New ventures can tap into business advice and cost-effective support whilst the bigger tenants are attracted by the excellent laboratory, equipment and office environment.  

Virtual office and meeting facilities are regularly booked out, and visitors from across Scotland attend training and business networking events. Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Life Science Association (SLA), the Life Sciences Advisory Board (LiSAB), Health Science Scotland, Medilink and ABHI have been involved in the regular use  of BioCity for international tours, meetings and training.

Highlights of the first year have included the visit in January by First Minister John Swinney MSP, followed in February by HRH the Princess Royal who officially named the Sir James Black building. Then came the hosting of a three-day BioEntrepreneur Boot Camp, the staging of the Dalziel High School Award for Scientific Excellence, and the appointment of Fraser Black as Managing Director.

One of the earliest companies on site was stem cell services company Pharmacells whose work is being applied to tackling diseases such as osteo-arthritis, cosmetic anti-aging, diabetes, and soft tissue and cartilage repair and renewal. Pharmacells Chief Executive Athol Haas says: “We were delighted to be able to relocate our stem cell banking service to the fantastic facilities provided by Biocity at Newhouse.  Access to these world class facilities has allowed Pharmacells to develop our Oristem and Thallocell products and to open new markets within regenerative medicine.”

Full service commercial law firm McClure Naismith LLP joined as BioCity Scotland Corporate Partners in April. Corporate partner status enables companies such as McClure to offer specialist advice to all BioCity companies through clinics, workshops, seminars and presentations.  They also get involved in regular BioCity corporate events, such as the BioEntrepreneur Boot Camp.

David Gallagher, Associate with a particular interest in intellectual property says: “Partnering with BioCity Scotland has been a great opportunity for us over the last 12 months to meet, network and discuss legal issues with companies who are at the cutting edge of the sector in Scotland.  Events, including the Boot Camp, have allowed individuals and companies to showcase the best that Scotland has to offer in this area and we are proud to support these growing businesses”.

BioCity Scotland MD Fraser Black says: “It has been a privilege to take up the management reins from the initial launch team whose work laid the foundations for a thriving bioscience business environment. The results speak for themselves, and the vision of building a centre which places Scotland as a global leader in life science innovation is clearly coming to fruition. Further progress will be made as we continue to build links with our leading research Universities, enter discussions with corporate investors and venture funds, and attract the very best high growth company bio-entrepreneurs.”



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