A new biomedical laboratory at Birmingham Research Park aims to build on Birmingham’s reputation as a UK leader in life sciences and biomedical innovation.
Located on Birmingham Research Park at the heart of the Edgbaston Medical Quarter, the new BioHub’s design is based on the successful co-working spaces of ‘plug-and-play’ biotech incubators that are sweeping across the US.
The £7 million building now provides a community of entrepreneurs and start-up businesses with access to affordable wet-lab space and a fully serviced laboratory. The investment is designed to boost Birmingham’s flourishing medical research and healthcare district.
Installed with all of the latest equipment required by start-up biotech companies, the BioHub’s light, central laboratory is supported by a variety of specialist rooms for Category 2 microbiology, a freezing capability of down to -150°C, a microscopy lab, a wet room with specialist cleaning and sterilisation facilities, and a cryogenic suite for housing liquid nitrogen.
Tenants will have full use of all the high tech laboratory equipment, and additionally, access to on-site Laboratory Managers to provide support, training and advice. An innovation office provides hot-desking, high speed internet and administration facilities to ensure that wet-lab activities and data analysis can be combined under one roof.
The adjacent BizzInn provides additional flexible office space and meeting rooms for entrepreneurs. Furthermore, The BioHub tenants will also benefit from access to the diverse network of businesses, research scientists and clinicians based at the University and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
When fully operational, there will be 24 shared spaces for individuals and start-up businesses to use for their early stage or proof of concept research. The first floor is being fitted out as larger laboratory and office space suitable for small to medium sized companies – and ideal for start-ups that need grow-on space later on but don’t want to relocate.
James Wilkie, CEO of Birmingham Research Park said: ‘This is a landmark building for Edgbaston, Birmingham and the UK in which entrepreneurs, inventors and health professionals work alongside, and learn from, each other in a vibrant high-growth community.’”
Helen Miller-Viney, Business Development Manager of the BioHub, said: “This brand new development in the heart of Birmingham’s medical quarter is very exciting for the future of biomedical science and Birmingham. By providing these facilities, we aim to strengthen our healthcare economy and become the leader in biomedical and innovation research in the UK.
“We have already confirmed our first tenant, NanoTi, a Hungarian medtech start-up specialising in dental implants, and we are receiving more enquiries each day. It’s a fabulous place, perfect for creating a community of entrepreneurs – who’ll also be able to access world-class facilities just a stone’s throw away at the university.
“Over recent years a lot of research work has been focused on the so-called ‘Golden Triangle’ of Oxford, Cambridge and London. One of the key parts of my job is to encourage people to think outside of that triangle!”
The BioHub’s Senior Laboratory Manager, Anthony Clarke, will be using his expertise, garnered from a research career in pharmaceuticals and bio-analysis to support the fledgling start-ups.
“My job is to ensure that the laboratory runs smoothly, making sure the tenants have everything they need and offering advice and support at the BioHub Birmingham,” Clarke said.
“The joy of this job is that we don’t know what exciting biomedical idea is going to be coming through the door, which makes it even more spectacular!”
Prof David Adams, Dean of Medicine at the University of Birmingham and Director of Birmingham Health Partners, said: “It is an exciting era for life sciences in Birmingham and the West Midlands, with the Institute of Translational Medicine due to open at the old Queen Elizabeth Hospital next year, and new facilities such as the BioHub which offer a single access point for industry will speed up the rate at which research and innovation can improve patient outcomes.”
For more information about the BioHub, visit www.thebiohub.co.uk