Manchester facility boosts biotechnology

A new £25 million facility dedicated to finding new treatments for diseases such as HIV and cancer was launched at The University of Manchester today.

The Core Technology Facility (CTF) labs are already looking at ways to grow replacement tissue, such as veins and arteries, and even whole organs that could one day be transplanted into patients suffering from conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

The CTF will provide specialist accommodation for biotech companies as well as academic staff from the university’s Faculties of Life Sciences and Medical and Human Sciences.

The facility will encourage commercial exploitation of these university research activities by providing integrated space in which young businesses can work alongside University research groups. The CTF is being launched by The University of Manchester Incubator Company Limited (UMIC), which manages a portfolio of business incubators on behalf of the university.

Science and Innovation Minister Lord Sainsbury officially opened the new development today.

The CTF will be home to the North West Embryonic Stem Cell Centre, which will produce human embryonic stem cells to treat a wide range of diseases and for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. One of the focal points of the day will be the Showcase Exhibition, demonstrating the extent and success of commercial biotech activity in Manchester.

The development has been funded by The University of Manchester, the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

UMIC’s General Manager Martino Picardo said, “The design of the building encourages collaboration between research groups, whilst a strong internal communication system ensures that researchers identify opportunities for joint initiatives with commercial colleagues. We believe that the Core Technology Facility will be able to bridge the gap between medical research and biotech business.”

Linda Magee, NWDA Biotechnology Sector Director and Head of Bionow, said, “The Core Technology Facility provides a compelling location for biotechnology-based businesses and will be a major source of wealth and job creation over the coming years. Situated at the heart of the University of Manchester campus, this facility will encourage closer collaboration between industry and academia, helping to speed up the transfer of scientific discoveries into world-class commercial products.”