Edinburgh BioQuarter - Life Sciences - Key Sectors - MIE-MakeItEdinburgh - Meeting Edinburgh
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Edinburgh BioQuarter

Edinburgh BioQuarter Aerial Image

Edinburgh BioQuarter is a leading global destination for healthcare delivery, ground-breaking medical research, life sciences innovation and entrepreneurship. Inspired by Edinburgh’s rich history of health and life science breakthroughs, all of the work undertaken at this 100 acre campus is informed by its vision: to be the place where great ideas thrive to revolutionise health and wellbeing.

What makes Edinburgh BioQuarter different?

Firstly, its partners, which comprise of the City of Edinburgh Council, NHS Lothian, Scottish Enterprise and the University of Edinburgh. These are four major public sector organisations with global reach and a joint strategy for its development.

Secondly, co-location, where a formidable network of clinicians, researchers, scientists and entrepreneurs are all based in one-place, making it easier for them to work together, and ultimately improving treatment for patients in a variety of ways.

Thirdly, the global pull of the NHS, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh’s College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine is vital. The campus boasts world-leading medical imaging facilities, an accredited unit for clinical trials and specialised labs for producing cell-based therapies that are safe for patient use. It is this co-location which offers such great opportunities.

Finally, BioQuarter’s significant translational research capabilities are world-leading in many areas and are massively strengthened by this close proximity of bench and clinical settings. Capabilities extend from very early bench research to clinical interface (trials, health informatics), all connecting with the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and patients.

How does Edinburgh BioQuarter contribute to the life sciences sector in Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond?

It is a key destination for life sciences innovation and discovery. At the heart of Edinburgh BioQuarter’s objectives sits innovation and entrepreneurship underpinning jobs creation and economic growth.

The campus is already home to over 20 leading life sciences companies from across the world, and behind every door is someone working hard to revolutionise healthcare through innovative new ideas and developments. Partners are driven by the opportunities to increase industrial collaborations and commercialisation from world-leading research taking place across the campus.

The University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian’s clinical research was rated in the top five in the UK for quality and breadth in the most recent assessment of research excellence. Research carried out in Edinburgh may save the NHS almost £300 million each year, according to a 2015 report.

Edinburgh’s Medical School and NHS Lothian studies have saved lives in more than 100 countries and improved healthcare for millions of people, it found.

Since 2012, Scottish Enterprise’s NINE – Life Sciences Innovation Centre has been the centre of commercial activity at BioQuarter. What does the future hold?

Through new infrastructure investment of up to £400m - including commercial collaborative space in each new building - BioQuarter will benefit health and wellbeing in Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond. BioQuarter is certainly making vast strides in boosting its offering, with work starting in October 2018 on a new two-storey, 1,200-square-metre building offering a mix of specialist office and lab space. The building is situated in the south of BioQuarter next to NINE, the Life Science Innovation Centre and the Centre for Dementia Prevention.

NHS Lothian’s £150 million Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences is due to open soon, bringing a further 1,000 staff to the campus.

The University of Edinburgh’s £50m Centre for Tissue Repair will open in 2020, giving BioQuarter one of the largest concentrations of stem-cell scientists in the World, with 250 adding to those 250 already based in the MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine.

A masterplan for Edinburgh BioQuarter allocating space for new accommodation which will create a “modern urban” environment, including cafés, a hotel and gym, received outline planning approval in 2013.

How important is community at BioQuarter?

There are already 7,500 people working across BioQuarter and in a variety of different fields. These collaborations across the campus is what creates opportunities to innovate and what makes it a success. Over 60 per cent of the people working across BioQuarter are involved in some form of collaboration, whether with another company, organisation or industry partner based at the site. You don’t have to dig too deeply to see some of the many innovations and benefits that has brought.

Additionally a new pedestrian walkway is being constructed between the north and south of Edinburgh BioQuarter and will provide enhanced links across the entire campus, delivering improved connections for people.

What are some of these successes?

There are too many to mention but a few good examples in regards to life science innovations are;

Proteus, hugely innovative in shortening the distance it takes take a discovery from lab to patient, the Queen’s Medical Research Institute-based projects work is revolutionising the ways lung diseases are diagnosed and managed.

The NINE based, CALCIVIS has recently overseen the UK launch of its revolutionary dental imaging technology and is now focusing its unique new device on international markets.

RoslinCT provides cell and gene therapy developers with a wealth of integrated services aimed at accelerating the route to market. Founded as a University of Edinburgh spin-out in 2006, the company now enjoys close links with the Centre for Regenerative Medicine.

Aquila BioMedical’s expertise in immunology, immuno-oncology and specialist histology supports a range of clients to discover their best route to clinic. The Contract Research Organisation’s growth at Edinburgh BioQuarter has seen a recent multi-million pound acquisition by a major UK life sciences organisation.