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Kate Forbes delivers £2m boost for Aberdeen life sciences ‘hub’

Finance secretary Kate Forbes announced £2m of new funding for BioHub during a visit to Aberdeen.
Finance secretary Kate Forbes announced £2m of new funding for BioHub during a visit to Aberdeen.

BioHub, the £40 million project to accelerate the growth of the north-east life sciences sector, has received a £2m boost from Scottish Enterprise (SE).

The economic development agency’s investment was announced by finance secretary Kate Forbes during a tour of the BioHub construction site in Aberdeen today.

SE’s cash will support the final fit-out of the building as well as incubator space for spinout and start-up businesses.

BioHub is expected to open in late autumn and provide a combination of specialist space and support for life sciences firms in the region.

The new facility will be home to spin-out, start-up and scaling businesses bringing new drugs, treatments, therapies and technology to market.

It will house up to 400 scientific entrepreneurs and 40 tenant businesses at total capacity.

Partners behind the project say it will create high-skill jobs and double the size of an already fast-growing industry.

Lead partner and co-funder Opportunity North East (One) secured £20m of capital funding from the Scottish and UK governments via the Aberdeen City Region Deal.

One is stumping up £5.6m of its own cash for the project, which has NHS Grampian and Aberdeen University on board as strategic partners.

BioHub will support ambitious life sciences businesses to grow, including through the creation of highly skilled jobs in Aberdeen, the north-east and more widely.”

Kate Forbes MSP, finance secretary.

Ms Forbes met people from Aberdeen life sciences companies NovaBiotics, Elasmogen and TauRx during her visit.

The minister said: “This additional £2m investment in BioHub aligns closely with the Scottish Government’s national strategy for economic transformation, highlighting the importance of strong regional economic partnerships, skills and retraining and focused support for new markets.

“BioHub will support ambitious life sciences businesses to grow, including through the creation of highly skilled jobs in Aberdeen, the north-east and more widely.

“We want to enable everyone to contribute to, and benefit from, a more prosperous, more productive and more internationally competitive economy.”

Life sciences is a key growth sector for the north-east.

One chief executive Jennifer Craw said: “The continuing investment in BioHub demonstrates the effectiveness of having a long-term economic vision and strategy, backed by public and private funding targeting transformational projects in our key growth sectors.

“BioHub will support growing businesses and high-value jobs, and accelerate innovation to market that impacts health and wellbeing.

“These benefits will be felt regionally and nationally and underline this region’s ability to provide significant economic returns on investment.

“The new Scottish Enterprise funding, which we welcome, further recognises the region’s potential and track record of delivery.”

Jennifer Craw, chief executive, Opportunity North East.

Aberdeen University principal and vice-chancellor Professor George Boyne said he expected BioHub to play a major role in “further enhancing the region’s standing as a leading life sciences centre and contributing to the wider post-pandemic recovery”.

BioHub is a flagship addition to Foresterhill Health Campus, one of Europe’s largest integrated clinical, research and teaching sites for life sciences and medicine.

The new facility is expected to catalyse further collaborative innovation across the north-east’s academic, commercial, and healthcare community.

One life sciences sector board chairwoman Deborah O’Neil, chief executive of NovaBiotics, said: “Aberdeen has world-class research and innovation strengths in life sciences – across our companies, universities and NHS – and a track record of producing exciting new businesses.

“The ongoing investment in BioHub will help accelerate commercialisation and business growth to bring new therapies, treatments, and technology to market.”

Scotland’s life sciences sector turns over £6.6 billion annually, employing 40,000 people across 750-plus organisations. It is expected to achieve £8bn turnover by 2025.

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