The action and investment in life sciences in north east Scotland and the national sector strategy and recovery plans are closely aligned.
Speaking at The Scotsman Life Sciences Conference 2020 today (3 December), Prof Stephen Logan, chair of ONE Life Sciences, said the sector is a national health and economic priority as we look to the future.
Opportunity North East was a partner in the virtual event that saw a keynote address from Ivan McKee, Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation at the Scottish Government, and the launch of the Covid-19 Strategic Response Plan by Dave Tudor, co-chair of the Life Sciences Scotland Industry Leadership Group.
Addressing an industry audience from across the UK, Prof Logan said: “There is robust alignment between the action and investment in life sciences in the region and the national sector strategy and recovery plans. Across innovation and commercialisation, creating the right business environment and support for life sciences, maximising our global footprint, and anchoring economic growth – companies and jobs – for the long term.
“We are a sector with a clear vision for its growth, supported by transformational projects, action and investment. The outlook for life sciences here in Aberdeen is very positive, and we look forward to working with you to develop our health economy and drive economic recovery.
“So, we must be confident and optimistic about the future of life sciences. And continue to embrace the adaptability and drive that we've exhibited this year.”
Prof Logan introduced a session showcasing the science behind Scotland’s life sciences community’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, including presentations from Aberdeen-based biotech companies Elasmogen and NovaBiotics.
He highlighted the alignment between the regional growth ambition and national priorities and the role of the transformational BioHub project in accelerating collaborative innovation and commercialisation to bring new drugs, technology and products to market.
“Our sector has demonstrated adaptability and resilience. Academics, clinicians, companies and researchers have responded at pace to the multiple challenges arising from COVID-19. Most notably, with the development of vaccines in record-breaking times,” said Prof Logan.
“The profile of life sciences has never been higher. Governments, markets and society look to drug companies and researchers to provide solutions.
“Our sector continues to grow, with record levels of investor interest. And life sciences is both a national health and economic priority as we look to the future. The growth of the sector will be essential to recovery and the post-COVID economy. An economy, we hope, driven by innovation and providing high-quality, high-value training and employment opportunities across our communities.
“At ONE, we apply private-sector leadership, resources and experience to realise the industry's growth ambition. To accelerate collaborative innovation and commercialisation, and to turn research into drugs, medtech and digital healthcare solutions that will transform healthcare delivery, change how clinicians work and improve patient outcomes.
“The transformational project for life sciences in northeast Scotland is BioHub. The 69,000 square foot new build on the Foresterhill Health Campus will be where people with ideas can take their first steps towards commercialisation, supported by experts. A place where the academic, clinical, commercial and research communities can collaborate and innovate. Build on their strengths in biologics, digital health and imaging. Where spinouts and start-ups will locate and grow in incubation space. And where established high-growth businesses develop in their custom laboratory and office accommodation. It will be a focal point for international collaboration and investor engagement,” said Prof Logan.
The delivery partners for BioHub are ONE, the University of Aberdeen and NHS Grampian, and the Aberdeen City Region Deal – made up of Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council, ONE and the UK Government and Scottish Government. The UK Government and Scottish Government, via the City Region Deal, and ONE are funding the project.
Updating on the £40 million project, Prof Logan said: “Significant work has gone into detailed design, securing planning approval, procurement and finalising the capital funding over the past six months. I'm pleased to report that we are on programme with the delivery of the main construction contract starting in 2021. BioHub is moving into delivery at pace.”
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