Spinout News / UCLB News

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.

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 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.

About the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst
Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is the UK’s first open innovation bioscience campus, pioneering a unique culture to drive early stage bioscience technology and company development, and building a thriving community. It is backed by £38m of funding from its founding partners – GlaxoSmithKline, the Wellcome Trust, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Technology Strategy Board and the former East of England Development Agency. Consisting of an Incubator, an Accelerator and a Hub, covering 60,000 sq ft of laboratory, office and networking space, the independent facility houses a range of companies, from virtual and start-up firms to those which are more established, as well as other organisations. Located on the GlaxoSmithKline Stevenage site, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is in the unique position of operating in proximity to the expertise and resources of a major pharmaceutical company, close to both London and Cambridge.

For more information, please go to: www.stevenagecatalyst.com

About Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst’s stakeholders
Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst’s stakeholders are GlaxoSmithKline (www.gsk.com), the Wellcome Trust (www.wellcome.ac.uk), the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (www.bis.gov.uk), the Technology Strategy Board (www.innovateuk.org) and the former East of England Development Agency (www.eeda.org.uk)

About UCL (University College London)
Founded in 1826, UCL was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to admit students regardless of race, class, religion or gender, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. We are among the world’s top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables. UCL currently has 27,000 students from almost 140 countries, and around 11,000 employees. Our annual turnover is nearly £1 billion.

www.ucl.ac.uk | Follow us on Twitter @uclnews

About UCL Enterprise
UCL Enterprise provides UCL’s structures for engaging with business for commercial and societal benefit. In includes three units: UCL Advances, UCL Business and UCL Consultants, along with corporate and industrial partnerships. Together, they provide access to the capabilities and resources of the UCL community to help businesses start, grow and develop.

About UCL Business PLC
UCL Business PLC (UCLB) is a leading technology transfer company that supports and commercialises research and innovations arising from UCL, one of the UK’s top research-led universities. UCLB has a successful track record and a strong reputation for identifying and protecting promising new technologies and innovations from UCL academics. It invests directly in development projects to maximise the potential of the research and manages the commercialisation process of technologies from laboratory to market. UCLB supports UCL’s Grand Challenges of increasing UCL’s positive impact on and contribution to Global Health, Sustainable Cities, Intercultural Interaction and Human Wellbeing.

For further information, please visit: www.uclb.com or follow us on Twitter @UCL_Business

About ThioLogics
ThioLogics is a UCL Business PLC (UCLB) wholly owned company spun-out of UCL Chemistry. The company aims to commercialise new bioconjugation technologies developed in the laboratories of Professor Stephen Caddick and Dr James Baker. ThioLogics is particularly focused on delivering technology that will enable the construction of homogeneous antibody-drug conjugate therapeutics (ADCs).

For further information, please contact Dr Chris Williams, Business Development Manager, c.williams@thiologics.com.

About Puridify
Puridify is a spin-out of the department of Biochemical Engineering at University London. Headed by Dr Hardick (CEO) and supported by a board of industry and business experts its nanofibre based technology platform has the potential to substantially reduce the manufacturing costs of highly complex and expensive biological based therapies. http://puridify.com

About Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)
The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) distributes public money for teaching, research, knowledge exchange and related activities. In 2013-14 HEFCE will distribute around £4.5 billion to 129 universities and higher education colleges and 203 further education colleges.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre
The centre is a partnership between University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and UCL, and is funded by the NIHR. The centre, set up in 2007, is at the forefront of research into major causes of illness and disease-related death and has already invested over £100m in research projects and infrastructure. Awarded a further £100m in government funding from the NIHR in 2011, the centre helps take innovations in basic science and turn them into therapies that directly benefit patients. In particular the centre supports experimental medicine research which tends to be ‘first in man’ studies such as research into new therapies and devices or the mechanisms of disease.