Stevenage and London, UK, October 15 2013 – Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC), the UK’s first open innovation bioscience campus, and MRC Technology, a life science technology transfer organisation, are pleased to announce the relocation of MRC Technology’s drug discovery activities to the Stevenage campus. The move forms an important part of MRC Technology’s evolution and sees their Centre for Therapeutics Discovery become the cornerstone tenant in SBC’s Accelerator building. Fit-out of the facilities is expected to start shortly, with completion and relocation by 2015.
In choosing the new location for its laboratories, MRC Technology was attracted by the innovation network developing at SBC and the opportunity it offers to collaborate extensively with universities, charities, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. MRC Technology undertook an extensive search to find the right environment for its further development, as it is expected that the current site adjacent to the MRC National Institute for Medical Research in Mill Hill, London, will be decommissioned by the end of 2016. Co-located with GlaxoSmithKline on the Stevenage campus, SBC is a joint venture between the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills, GlaxoSmithKline, the Wellcome Trust and the Technology Strategy Board, and has in excess of 25 tenants.
MRC Technology’s Centre for Therapeutics Discovery, which has around 70 staff, identifies and develops novel small molecule and antibody targets generated by academia and research charities, with the aim of creating effective new drug candidates. From its inception in 2000, MRC Technology has helped launch 12 drugs, form 18 start-ups and generated over £600m in royalty revenues. At SBC, it will occupy around 23,000 sq ft of laboratory and office space.
Dr Martino Picardo, CEO of Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, said ‘We are delighted to welcome MRC Technology’s Centre for Therapeutics Discovery to our open innovation campus. Its expertise and networks provide an excellent complement to those of SBC, our stakeholders and tenants. The relocation of MRC Technology here provides a huge endorsement of our business model, and the Centre’s occupancy of the Accelerator catalyses the next stage of campus growth.’
Dave Tapolczay, MRC Technology’s CEO, said, ‘Our move to Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst provides us with a fantastic opportunity to increase and strengthen the small molecule and therapeutic antibody engineering development work that we do for academia, charities, biotech and pharma. It will help us realise our ambition to be a centre of excellence for translating drug targets into drugs with potential to move to the clinic, and we are looking forward to being part of the open innovation network at SBC.’
Science Minister David Willetts said:
“MRC Technology’s relocation to the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst will strengthen the already thriving collaboration between academia and industry, helping to bridge the so-called ‘valley of death’ between scientific discovery and the marketplace.
“The UK remains one of the world’s most progressive and important centres for life science research, not only boosting UK growth but creating new and improved treatments for patients worldwide.”