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‘Minerva’ officially opened at the Babraham Research Campus

Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd (BBT) today officially opened its new commercial building, ‘Minerva’, at the Babraham Research Campus. Named after the Roman goddess of wisdom, Minerva provides grow-on units for early stage bioventures as they make the transition out of incubation facilities and is part of BBT’s innovative approach to supporting start-up and early stage biomedical ventures in the region.

Mr Phil Willis MP, Chairman of the House of Commons’ Science and Technology Select Committee, who unveiled the plaque said, “It is a huge privilege to officially open the new ‘Minerva’ research facility which offers emerging biotech companies state of the art facilities to bring excellent science to the market. This facility is a superb example of how government funding can stimulate knowledge transfer by sponsoring direct links between academia and industry and stimulating wealth creation in the regions.”

Minerva is the first of three BioDevelopment buildings, offering flexible laboratory and office accommodation, which are anticipated will stimulate and facilitate the knowledge transfer process from research to commercial exploitation on the campus. Dr David Hardman, CEO of BBT said, “This BioDevelopment building is the latest development in our Babraham Research Campus strategy to integrate world class science with innovative bioventures to exploit new technologies relating to human healthcare. This building enables companies to expand into new facilities on flexible terms, a unique proposition in the region. The campus has been home to over 40 of the region’s biotechnology companies since it opened in 1998 and BBT will start a new Bioincubator building in September. The continued success emphasises the role our knowledge-based campus can play in promoting biosciences for regional development.”

Cambridge Biotechnology Ltd, a drug-discovery research company developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of pain, inflammation and obesity, is one of the four companies residing in Minerva. Dr Peter Richardson, Managing Director of CBT said, "Moving to new facilities at Babraham represents a major new phase in the growth of CBT. The new laboratories will provide CBT's drug discovery teams with excellent working conditions and will ensure optimal efficiency and safety for all its research staff. A location on the Babraham Research Campus also benefits from the proximity of a host of innovative biotech companies and prestigious academic groups which provides an optimal environment for a company such as CBT to thrive."

Also in Minerva are NovaThera Ltd, a spin-out from Imperial College London that is pioneering applications of biomaterials and stem cell biology for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, and Stem Cell Sciences plc, an international company with centres in the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan and the USA. Active in the stem cell research field since 1994, the company is principally focused on expertise to grow, differentiate, select and purify stem cells. Cyclacel, the Dundee-based biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and commercialisation of novel, mechanism-targeted drugs to treat human cancers, moved into Minerva from the Bioincubator facilities earlier this year.

Claire Cockcroft | alfa
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