New home for wet lab incubator in bid to help biotech start-ups and promote life sciences

July 4, 2022 - 3 minutes
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A lab to bring together the hive minds of those addressing the future challenges in healthcare, including biotech start-ups, is set to open at Discovery Park, Kent, U.K.

Barclays has selected the location as the home for its latest Eagle Lab, which will open later this year. The labs are a growing national network currently at 24 sites covering all areas of the UK. They provide business incubation, mentoring and co-working as well as office space.

The new lab will help facilitate collaboration between the life sciences and technology sectors, with the aim of driving the development of a community base focused on clean energy, agri-tech and addressing future challenges in healthcare. It will also include a wet lab incubator for start-up biotech and life science businesses and should open in August 2022.

Science and technology

Jane Kennedy, chief business officer at Discovery Park, said: “It is home to over 160 companies, with a significant proportion of these working in science and technology-based businesses.

“We’re incredibly excited to welcome the new lab which will provide a fantastic opportunity for collaboration and innovation among the life sciences and technology sectors. We have real aspirations of creating a tech cluster at Discovery Park and this partnership with Barclays will help us achieve this.”  

The lab network is one of the largest co-working and incubator networks for start-ups and scale-ups in the UK.

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Discovery Park noted that recent YouGov figures reported that almost 70% of life sciences companies are already collaborating with a tech software partner, or expect to in the near future. 

One of just seven life science opportunity zones in the UK, Discovery Park is a 220-acre science and technology park at Sandwich which offers high quality laboratory, office and manufacturing facilities. As well as space and support to expand and grow, the site currently employs around 3,500 people and offers access to financing and has strong links to the local scientific talent pool.

Work is almost complete to refurbish 50,000 sq ft of laboratories and collaborative workspace creating the wet lab incubator for start-up biotech and life science businesses.

Among its growing tenant community, Discovery Park has been home to Pfizer since the 1950s, which has helped build the site’s reputation as a center for global drug discovery. Pfizer’s key business components including pharmaceutical sciences, safety and regulatory, medical, quality assurance and wider business support functions are already based there. 

Delivering breakthroughs

Melissa Hanna-Brown, a senior director at Pfizer said: “Fostering incubation development is critical to support start-up companies to achieve future success. For Pfizer, being able to access and tap into new innovative approaches to life science development on our doorstep is vital as we continue to drive our purpose of delivering breakthroughs that change patients’ lives. We look forward to working with Discovery Park as they forge this exciting new relationship with Barclays Eagle Labs.”

The seven life science opportunity zones in the UK are: Charnwood Campus (Loughborough); Stevenage Advanced Therapies Campus (Stevenage); Birmingham Life Sciences Park; Harwell Science and Innovation Campus (Oxfordshire); Cambridge Biomedical Campus; Porton Science Park (Wiltshire); and Discovery Park (Sandwich, Kent).

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