How a new £40m hub in Aberdeen will help commercialise the region’s biotech sector
North-east Scotland is home to world-class enterprises tackling modern epidemics – from neuro-degenerative diseases and infectious diseases to cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The enterprises all share a strong entrepreneurial drive, taking novel research from the laboratory bench to commercialisation, and attract significant investment.
The ambition is to double the size of the life sciences cluster to further the region’s economic diversification.
The opening of ONE BioHub at the end of August started a new chapter in life sciences commercialisation for north-east Scotland and its distinctive cluster of biotech companies.
The £40-million investment in Aberdeen – led by Opportunity North East (ONE) – has boosted the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem with innovative space, programmes and connections for spin-out, start-up, and scaling life sciences businesses.
The new-build industry innovation hub is a focal point for action and investment to diversify the economy, and maximise the impact of science and technology, from within life sciences companies, the University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University and NHS Grampian. The hub will accommodate up to 400 bio-entrepreneurs at full occupancy.
“ONE BioHub is the iconic new location for life sciences in Aberdeen, inspiring ambition, giving scientists and innovators access to the tools, skills and knowledge to successfully turn research and innovation into businesses, and supporting them on the entrepreneurial journey,” explains Dr Deborah O’Neil, chief executive of NovaBiotics, chair of the ONE life sciences board, and of BioAberdeen, the company formed to deliver ONE BioHub.
“The combination of entrepreneurial support, specialist facilities, and connections provides start-up, spin-out and scaling life sciences businesses with incubator laboratories and offices, fully customisable grow-on space, commercialisation and growth programmes, and access to mentors, expert networks and investors.”
An Aberdeen City Region Deal innovation project, ONE BioHub is led and co-funded by ONE with funding from the UK and Scottish governments, and Scottish Enterprise. The University of Aberdeen and NHS Grampian are strategic partners and provided the site for ONE BioHub in the heart of Aberdeen’s Foresterhill Health Campus.
O’Neil and the project partners recognise the economic significance of life sciences and want to maximise its potential: “North-east Scotland is serious about its life sciences opportunity. The region is home to world-class research and innovation in the University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University, and NHS Grampian, a thriving community of 2,500 life scientists and a cluster of dynamic biotech, medtech and healthtech businesses.
“ONE BioHub will make more of all these strengths, assets and talented people. It will inspire the next generation to commercialise innovation, start businesses in the city, solve health challenges and create lasting economic value.”
Sector leaders see ONE BioHub as a game-changing addition to the region’s life sciences landscape.
Professor Caroline Barelle, founder of Elasmogen, says: “Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have been home to exceptionally innovative biotechs, which has created a fertile environment for entrepreneurship and new company creation.
“ONE BioHub provides a focal point, a heart, to concentrate our excellence in life sciences, to build critical mass within a vibrant, innovative environment, to foster sharing of expertise and ideas, to support existing companies and to create new enterprises.”
Professor David Blackbourn, director of the Institute of Medical Sciences and professor of virology at the University of Aberdeen, adds: “ONE BioHub will catalyse innovation in the life sciences ecosystem. I’ve been in Aberdeen for two years and was drawn here by the fantastic life sciences cluster. I see
ONE BioHub as reducing the time between an innovation coming in here and then going out hopefully into the clinic and beyond.”
The place for life sciences
ONE BioHub is the place in north-east Scotland where life sciences entrepreneurs and founders can build their businesses and commercialise new therapies, treatments, technology and solutions for health and wellbeing.
ONE BioHub is a welcoming purpose-built space for start-ups and spin-outs. It provides flexible hot desking, co-working, collaboration, laboratory space and offices on its ground, mezzanine and first floors. ONE delivers life sciences commercialisation, accelerator and business growth programmes in ONE BioHub.
For scaling and established businesses, ONE BioHub offers flexible grow-on space and customisable fit-out space for scaling and established life sciences businesses on its second and third floors.
In addition, the building offers meeting and events space for the life sciences community and tenants. More than 900 people have used these facilities recently for business meetings, industry events, collaboration and networking.
Go online to find out more at www.onebiohub.com