ONE OF the UK's best-known life science entrepreneurs is to lead the commercialisation of Edinburgh's £600 million BioQuarter project.
Simon Best, who played an instrumental role in commercialising the cloning technology behind Dolly the sheep, will chair the scheme's commercialisation programme, in an effort to position Scotland as one of the world's top ten hubs for life sciences research and development.
Best, 53, has been involved in a string of biotech ventures, including a stint as chief executive of Roslin Biomed, where he was responsible for establishing the firm that held intellectual property rights to Dolly – the first mammal cloned from an adult cell.
He also founded Ardana, the Edinburgh-based drugs company that was placed into administration last year after running out of cash. Other posts held by Best have included chairman of the UK BioIndustry Association in 2006 and 2007.
Commenting yesterday on his new appointment, the self- confessed serial entrepreneur said: "The commitment by all of the key stakeholders to support the BioQuarter and to co-ordinate their efforts to ensure its success is impressive. I am honoured and delighted to take on the leadership of this most exciting project."
Edinburgh BioQuarter is a partnership between Scottish Enterprise, the University of Edinburgh, NHS Lothian and Alexandria Real Estates Equities Inc – the world-leading life sciences property specialist. The BioQuarter is located on a 100-acre site on the outskirts of the city.
Overall, it is likely to get 600m of investment and create thousands of jobs.
Jack Perry, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise, said: "The commercialisation programme is a vital component of the overall Edinburgh BioQuarter strategy and one which demands only the best in leadership and counsel."
Sir John Savill, head of Edinburgh University's college of medicine, described Best's appointment as "great news".