Motherwell life sciences deal helps UKSE funding top £100m

UK Steel Enterprise (UKSE) has unveiled a landmark funding deal with a Lanarkshire life sciences firm, pushing its total investment in UK businesses past £100 million.

From left: Andrew Baron of Antibody Analytics with UKSE's Scott Webb and Simon Hamilton. Picture: Contributed

The organisation, a subsidiary of Tata Steel, has invested the undisclosed six-figure sum in Antibody Analytics, a Motherwell business which provides bioanalytical services to global pharmaceutical companies developing new medicines.

It will use the financial boost to expand into new scientific areas, including drug testing in cell therapy and immuno-oncology.

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The transaction marks a significant funding milestone for UKSE, which has injected more than £100m into “aspiring” UK firms since it was established in 1975.

The group aims to support economic regeneration and development in regions affected by changes in the steel industry. To date it has supported 5,500 UK businesses, including around 1,500 in Scotland, and estimates it has created almost 77,000 jobs.

Other Scottish companies to have benefitted include Ayrshire-based Scotia Double Glazing and furniture manufacturer Aquapac, based in Cumbernauld.

UKSE managing director Simon Hamilton said: “This is a fantastic time for UKSE. We work hard to support companies across the UK and we are truly proud to have reached the £100m milestone.

“Scotland’s life science and technology sectors are really thriving and it’s a very exciting time for Antibody Analytics to expand into new areas.

“It is extremely rewarding to support Antibody Analytics, and I’m looking forward to seeing the team grow and develop more life-saving medicines.”

Antibody Analytics has grown to serve a worldwide customer base since it was established in 2015.

The firm currently employs 37 people, with a target to increase headcount by more than 60 per cent in the next three years.

MD Andy Upsall said: “Without the help from UKSE, we wouldn’t be able to expand so quickly.

“Our industry has huge potential and with UKSE’s help, we are able to get an early foothold, expand our lab space and hire ahead of the curve to attract top scientists from around the world.

“Our growth is good for Lanarkshire and good for Scotland, helping to position the country’s life sciences industry as one of the best in the world.”

Hamilton said: “The steel industry has experienced significant change over the years, but UKSE has supported the entrepreneurial spirit that exists up and down the country and helped many worthwhile companies to grow and create new jobs.”

He added that the organisation’s achievement in surpassing the £100m funding mark was “testament to how management and unions can work together constructively to regenerate steel communities and drive new growth”.