A bespoke accelerator programme is being launched to catalyse growth in Aberdeen’s world-class life sciences cluster by supporting the development of start-ups, spin-outs and growth companies across the region’s research, clinical and commercial base.
Led and funded by private sector economic development body Opportunity North East (ONE) and delivered in partnership with BioCity Group, the ONE Life Sciences Accelerator Programme will launch with a boot camp in early December, followed by a 12-week develop programme starting in January 2018.
BioCity is the largest incubator and accelerator of life science businesses in the UK and participating in the programme will enable North East based individuals and companies to tap into BioCity’s network of existing businesses and life science and healthcare experts.
The boot camp is an intense two-and-a-half-day programme suitable for anyone wishing to learn the tools and techniques to explore their own life sciences start-up business idea or to stress test their current company product, services, and business model. It is suited equally to those who have a spark of an idea they wish to evaluate, through to fully formed companies. The boot camp aims to help participants develop their product or service concepts and provides a taste of the more intensive 12-week develop programme that will start in January. Develop will identify gaps in business cases and evaluate areas of risk, help to create a business model that can stand-up to investor scrutiny and steer businesses in the right direction; reducing risk, time and cost.
The life sciences sector is an important part of North East Scotland’s economy with more than 2,500 people employed within its companies, clinical and research base making an annual contribution of £160m GVA. The region accounts for more than one fifth of employment in Scottish life sciences research and development and Aberdeen has one of the highest concentrations of life scientists in the UK outside of Cambridge. The city’s Foresterhill health campus is Europe’s largest integrated medical, research and teaching location and provides an outstanding collaborative environment for clinical, commercial and academic researchers.
In life sciences, ONE works closely with the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University, the NHS and other stakeholders including Scottish Enterprise. ONE’s priorities are to build on region’s life sciences asset base; accelerate company growth across spin-outs, start-ups and established companies; create an entrepreneurial cluster environment to drive innovation and commercialisation; and attract investment.
ONE’s goals are aligned with both the Scottish and UK industry strategies, including the recently published UK Life Sciences Industrial Strategy that supports specialist cluster development and close working between clinicians, researchers and commercial interests to produce patient-focused outcomes.
Professor Stephen Logan, chair of ONE’s Life Sciences Board, said: “We see the life sciences sector as a key component of our regional economy, which is driven by innovation and ambition. Aberdeen has a history of high-quality spin out companies and our new, bespoke accelerator programme aims to build upon this to catalyse growth in our life sciences sector. BioCity is an established leader in this field and we are now bringing their unrivalled expertise to the region to help develop ideas from across the clinical, research and commercial base into commercially viable ventures and to accelerate the growth trajectory of established businesses.
“We have a strong and globally recognised life sciences sector in the region with strengths in bio-therapeutics, medtech and nutrition. Companies based in Aberdeen have attracted more than £280m of investment in recent years while the academic research base has secured a further £250m. More than 114 life sciences patents have been filed in the region in the past five years. Most importantly, we have a unique environment in Foresterhill to foster collaboration between clinicians, researchers and companies, which has patients at its heart,” said Prof Logan.
Toby Reid, managing director of BioCity, said: “BioCity is delighted to be selected by ONE to run its programme. With the connectivity and proximity of the Universities and the NHS at Foresterhill and the exciting companies already here we see huge potential for the life sciences sector in the North East to grow and we look forward to playing a part in that growth.”
For more information on the ONE Life Sciences Accelerator Programme and to register your interest in participating see the BioCity Group website.