• Programme designed to help promising start-ups commercialise drug discovery and provide access to much-needed laboratory space
  • 2021 was the highest year on record for investments into UK biotech and life sciences companies – who raised £4.5 billion
  • Move demonstrates AbbVie’s and Pioneer Group’s commitment to investing in the UK’s world-class life sciences sector

AbbVie, the global research-driven biopharmaceutical company and Pioneer Group, the ecosystem provider for science and innovation businesses, has launched a programme designed to help early-stage life science companies commercialise drug discovery and gain access to crucial research space.

The 2022 UK Golden Ticket Programme is open to early-stage life sciences companies and biotech start-ups that are working to develop cutting-edge therapies or technology platforms within four key areas: immunology, oncology, neuroscience, and eye care.

The announcement comes as the UK is seeing a life sciences boom – the sector attracted a record-breaking £4.5 billion in 2021 – and the Government commits to spreading public sector research and development funding across the UK as part of its levelling-up plans. The programme’s winner will be offered free lab space and access to core facilities in one of five of Pioneer Group’s ecosystems across the UK – including locations such as Glasgow, Nottingham and Kent.

The UK programme will provide:

  • One year of free lab space, funded by AbbVie, with access to core facilities and services, provided by Pioneer Group, in one of five sites across the UK: BioCity Glasgow, Wilton Centre (Redcar), BioCity Nottingham, Colworth Park (Bedfordshire) and Kent Science Park
  • Tailored support from AbbVie’s world-leading global and UK scientists, business leaders and mentors
  • Exclusive access to AbbVie and Pioneer Group’s networks over the year with the opportunity for future collaboration.

The move demonstrates AbbVie and Pioneer Group’s commitment to investing in the UK’s world- class life sciences sector and accelerating the delivery of life-changing innovations to patients. Between 2015 and 2020, Pioneer Group has helped raise over £51 million for 34 different early-stage companies.

Henry Gosebruch, Executive Vice President, and Chief Strategy Officer at AbbVie said: “At AbbVie we always aim to follow the science and to engage early on with innovators and companies that push boundaries in areas of strategic interest to our R&D organization.”

“Innovation in the UK is globally recognized. It is home to a vibrant ecosystem and deep talent pool underpinned by world-class life science universities, research infrastructure and life science industry. We are excited to become part of getting this initiative off the ground”

Belinda Byrne, PhD, UK Medical Director, AbbVie, said “While unmet needs remain for patients, we remain committed to driving scientific innovation. The Golden Ticket programme, not only offers start-ups a unique opportunity, but it also means we can work closely with innovative companies that have the potential to deliver life-changing therapies to patients in the UK and globally.”

Ayokunmi Ajetunmobi PhD, Director of Venture Development at Pioneer Group said:

“In recent years, we’ve seen the UK emerge as a global hub for life sciences entrepreneurs and start-ups. Building on this, requires corporate engagement that can provide promising start-ups with the expertise and funding to scale. The Golden Ticket programme provides the perfect platform for enabling this engagement and advancing pioneering scientific research for the benefit of patients globally.”

The 2022 UK AbbVie Golden Ticket winner will be chosen by a team of AbbVie’s scientific and business leaders, along with Pioneer Group’s experts in venture building. The decsion will be based on the strength and novelty of the scientific rationale, and the potential to transform patient care.

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