Minister for Universities and Science performs topping-out ceremony

Minister for Universities and Science performs topping-out ceremony at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst

Rt Hon David Willetts MP launches key phase of bioincubator development

Stevenage, UK, July 14 2011

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC), the UK’s first open innovation bioscience campus, is pleased to announce that its topping-out ceremony will be performed today by the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science. The ceremony, a symbolic celebration of laying the final portion of cement, marks a milestone in the project’s construction. The incubator now enters its final phase of building prior to opening at the beginning of 2012.

The topping-out ceremony will be followed by speeches from Martino Picardo, CEO of SBC, the Rt Hon David Willetts MP, Patrick Vallance, Senior Vice President of Medicines Discovery and Development, GlaxoSmithKIine, and Ted Bianco, Director of Technology Transfer, Wellcome Trust. The Minister will then be updated on progress at SBC and some of the key features of the project, such as the extensive use of photovoltaic panels to capture solar energy.

Martino Picardo, CEO of the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, says ‘The Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst team is delighted that the Minister is joining us to celebrate the progress of this key multi-stakeholder investment in UK life sciences. We would like to recognise the hard work so far of Mace, our builder, and the contractors that work with it, as well as the ongoing support of our stakeholders. In its role as an Open Innovation incubator, SBC will facilitate the development of a range of companies, from virtual and start-up firms to more established ones, thereby helping to rejuvenate the UK life sciences sector. As we move towards our opening next year, we are therefore actively engaging with potential tenants, academia, charities and funding bodies such as venture capital organisations.’

Minister for Universities and Science, David Willetts, says, ‘The SBC will provide start-ups with vital access to expert knowledge and research, strong links with leading pharmaceutical companies and high quality facilities. This will help them develop cutting edge medical advances. This important milestone is another step towards sustainable growth with businesses coming together to share ideas with world leaders. Working together at all stages will encourage new products and quicker development.’

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is a joint venture between the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills, GlaxoSmithKline, the Wellcome Trust, the East of England Development Agency and the Technology Strategy Board. The £38m development will be an independent bioscience facility and is due to open in Q1 2012.