New cluster for life sciences as BioCity Scotland secures a future for MSD Newhouse site

BioCity Scotland Ltd, a joint venture between BioCity Nottingham and Roslin BioCentre, has today announced the acquisition of the former-MSD research facility at Newhouse, Lanarkshire. This exciting deal will enable the development of a dedicated base in central Scotland for growing bioscience, pharmaceutical, med tech and healthcare companies.

The gifting of the extensive site by MSD (operating in the US and Canada as Merck & Co) to BioCity Scotland unlocks over 130,000 sq ft of purpose-built laboratories on the 23 acre site capable of supporting preclinical drug discovery and development by a range of independent, ambitious companies. The rejuvenated site will complement the existing provision of space for life science firms in Scotland by catering for start-up and growing companies wanting a central base on the M8 just 15 miles from Glasgow and 33 miles from Edinburgh city centres.

In addition to over 130,000 sq ft of pharma-quality fully-fitted laboratory and office space, BioCity Scotland provides access to a wide range of state-of-the-art equipment, available to rent at very competitive rates. This includes high-throughput screening, nuclear magnetic resonance machines, mass spectrometers, HPLCs, electrophysiology and cell culture suites, centrifuges and freezers. A world leading compound management system and a library of 100,000 compounds is also part of the offering. On site business support will ensure that companies are able to tap into a developed support system and funding opportunities to assist their growing business needs.

Speaking at the announcement of the deal, BioCity Scotland, Chairman Louis J. Nisbet said: “BioCity Scotland is much more than a property proposition – it will be a unique, vibrant community of scientific companies. Just a short drive from Scotland’s two largest cities, it is ideally situated to attract the cream of life science talent. BioCity Nottingham’s success in nurturing and growing over 70 new companies since 2003, and Roslin’s expertise in life sciences innovation and facilities management makes this team the perfect commercial partnership. The work starts now, the prospects are boundless.”

According to the 2011 UK Life Science Start up report authored by BioCity Nottingham, almost half of all life science start ups are located in a UK bioincubator or biopark, and news of this deal adds further weight to Scotland’s claim to being a major centre for life sciences and at the forefront of drug discovery and commercialisation. 

Chris Hill, MSD Vice President and the former Head of MSD’s Newhouse facility said: "This is a fantastic outcome for the Life Sciences community in Scotland and the wider UK.  We are delighted to have secured such an accomplished investor and a viable and exciting future for the site in such a short period of time.  The ongoing commercial operation of the site will attract investment to the local area generating employment opportunities for local communities and the success of this development will play a significant role in securing the future of Life Sciences in Scotland".

Dr Glenn Crocker, CEO BioCity Nottingham has worked closely with MSD and Roslin BioCentre to broker the deal: “If the UK’s life science sector is to flourish we must create the best support and funding infrastructure where this can happen. Our plan is to create the UK’s largest bioscience business incubator at BioCity Scotland, a resource available to national and international companies.”

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