Creating business success from life sciences
Article by Nottingham Evening Post
Biocity Nottingham is set to become one of the largest - and most advanced - pharmaceutical and bio science hot-houses in Europe. Already one of the biggest in the UK, it is helping emergent companies develop en route to becoming potential world leaders in their own right.
Now BioCity Nottingham's latest phase in its own development - complete regeneration of the former Boots laboratory building on Pennyfoot Street - has made it a nominee for the Evening Post's Greater Nottingham Partnership-sponsored Nottingham Science City Development Project Award. Originally founded as a collaborative venture involving Nottingham's two universities and the East Midlands Development Agency, BioCity was founded five years ago to help the city retain the fruits of its higher educational establishments.
An 'incubator' business, it provides facilities in which bright graduates can develop products and technologies for commercial exploitation, while remaining right next door to the resources of their former academic worlds. But now BioCity is driven ever onwards by its own success and having already refurbished two buildings on the site, has almost completed a third - the five storey 45,000sq foot R4 building, a £5m project, partly with the help of Emda and European grants.
"R4 is essential to Nottingham's expanding role as a science city," said CEO Dr Glenn Crocker. "Companies coming through from our smaller facilities are not just growing incrementally - they're making step changes and need a lot more space." The concept is that as Nottingham develops the highest quality graduates and helps them develop their ideas, it should hang on to them and their commercial, employment-creating talents. "We need to provide the best facilities for their continued growth, not idly watch as they leave the nest to go off to who knows where."
Accommodation and short-walk links to the universities apart, BioCity also has a team providing support ranging from business planning and strategic advice to assistance in accessing funding and grants. Work on R4 began in earnest at the turn of the year, and hand-over is due next month - on schedule andwithin budget.
"We completely cleared the inside, stripping it back to the walls and starting over. It will be a place people want to come and work in." Externally all the windows have been replaced and a new reception atrium created, with much use made of black zinc and green mosaic cladding. Turning what had become a visual sore thumb into a creditable landmark is one result. Another is that when fully occupied it should provide some 150 new, high quality jobs which, together with 370 in BioCity's other buildings, will exceed the 500 lost when BASF left the site.
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