£20m investment to reduce reliance on oil industry

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A multi-million pound investment project is expected to double the number of life sciences companies in the north-east as part of a wider plan to diversify the local economy away from oil and gas.

The Bio-therapeutics Hub for Innovation will be a focal point for sector ambition and growth in Aberdeen and has secured £20 million of capital funding from the UK and

Scottish Governments and private sector led economic development body Opportunity North East (One).

One, which has led the development of the project, has committed an additional £3.6 million of its own funding over seven years to operate the hub and deliver the support activity that will make Aberdeen one of the most dynamic environments for life sciences businesses.

The project is aimed to help grow the Scottish sector to £8bn turnover by 2025 and will be located on the Foresterhill Health Campus in Aberdeen – one of Europe’s largest integrated clinical, research, teaching and commercial health sites.

The 69,000 sqft new-build facility will include accommodation for spin-outs, start-ups and established companies; collaboration space; and shared facilities for events, small conferences and networking.

A design team has been appointed to support the delivery of the project with a target of opening in December 2020. A planning application for the hub will be submitted in spring 2019 and construction is scheduled to start later that year.

The project was formally launched to an audience of partners, life sciences companies and industry stakeholders yesterday.

Prof Stephen Logan, chairman of the One Life Sciences sector board, said: “Creating the innovation hub for new, early-stage and established life sciences and healthcare businesses is at the heart of our ambition to build a dynamic company cluster.

“It draws on the significant assets in and around the Foresterhill Health Campus in Aberdeen. The hub will realise the opportunity to collaborate and innovate to bring forward the next generation of medical therapies and products and our target is to double the size of the company base by 2027.”

The significance of the project for the sector and its role in economic diversification was highlighted by the project partners and life sciences industry.

Sir Ian Wood, chairman of Opportunity North East, added: “The innovation hub is a transformational project for our life sciences sector. It builds on our strengths and opportunities, including in biologics and digital healthcare, where we have the specialisms to be at the forefront of health innovation. We have the talented people in the sector and now they will have the right environment and support to translate ideas and research into new diagnostics and treatments.”

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