Five new dedicated laboratory spaces at The EpiCentre in Haverhill have been snapped up before completion, due to the rapid upsurge in demand for biotech and life sciences laboratories in the Cambridgeshire area.

Companies occupying the five new units include current customers who are looking to scale as well as new businesses that want to be based at the innovation centre to take advantage of the facilities and services on offer.

Analog Devices Ltd is expanding as it already occupied two bench spaces and has now taken its own dedicated laboratory space together with write-up and analysis space on the first floor.

Julie Byard, a Senior Manager in Analog’s Digital Healthcare division says they are undertaking benchtop experiments on their bio-sensors that help clinicians guide patients through their treatment journey as well as in the testing of diagnostic equipment.

“The EpiCentre has equipment relating to DNA and proteins, so we don’t need to purchase our own,” says Julie Byard.” At the same time she praises the management team at the EpiCentre, “The Oxford Innovation team have been incredibly accommodating and helpful, and with the other companies in the centre’s laboratory space we all feel like a happy family.”

ExpressionEdits is a new occupier at the centre taking three separate, dedicated laboratory spaces. It is a spin-out from the Department of Medicine at Cambridge University and as a bio-tech company they will be using the space to bring forward the full potential of genetic production. Kärt Tomberg a co-founder of the company says: “there is huge demand for life science laboratories in the Cambridge region but very little space available, so the EpiCentre’s new lab facilities have come along just at the right time.”

Centre Manager, Kelly Boosey, says: “We were not surprised that the space has been filled so quickly. Companies may start off in the all-inclusive shared tissue culture and microbiology laboratory with an allocated bench, then move on to their own dedicated lab space, plus at the same time they may wish to obtain one of the office spaces on the floors above to locate their admin teams. This all comes with Oxford Innovation’s business support services, a manned reception and the superb on-site facilities including the centre’s own café and ample parking spaces,” adds Kelly.

Nic Rumsey, managing director of Jaynic, said: “We are investing in more laboratory space because there has been a substantial upsurge in life science and bio-tech research and, of course, the Cambridgeshire area is at the leading edge of this trend.”

The EpiCentre has already attracted a number of start-up and scale-up life science businesses including CodiKoat, Halo Labs, Biotix, TA Instruments, Analog and Amphista Therapeutics. CodiKoat’s growth trajectory evidences the demand for space. It originally took a single bench in the centre’s shared laboratory space, but has grown rapidly, employing world class scientists, and has expanded to take a dedicated laboratory facility of 6 benches as well as a large office to house its full team.

The significant take up of space is in line with Central Government thinking on the life science sector. Last year, UK life sciences companies raised a record-breaking total of £6.6bn in the first 10 months of 2021 creating a solid foundation to support the Life Science Vision launched by the government last summer, with the target of making the United Kingdom the leading global hub for life sciences. 

The EpiCentre is all about supporting small and medium sized businesses to scale and grow. Oxford Innovation offers services beyond the facilities and space which includes lab, office, co-working plus meeting rooms. The business support provided by its dedicated Innovation Director, and within the strong the eco-system it is building, makes all the difference.  It provides additional guidance, signposting connections and can even go as far as providing 1-2-1 coaching and mentoring.