As part of Liftstream’s on-going Cluster Series we have chosen to profile the Golden triangle. The golden triangle consists of London, Cambridge, Oxford and Stevenage and is seen as a global centre in the pharma and biotech industry. In the second of a series of four, Liftstream looks at the Cambridge Biotech Cluster.
Cambridge is an historic city with a world leading university at its heart (Ranked 2nd in the QS World University Rankings). Cambridge has long been an integral part of the global life science community, further bolstered by the presence of Cambridge University. Much of the city is based around the university where the life science department has produced many world leading researchers. Cambridge and the Medical Research Council (MRC) facility in Cambridge have been responsible for a considerable number of Nobel Prize winners including the 2012 winner, Professor John Gurdon. Alongside the university are a number of other institutes such as the Brabraham Institute which focuses on molecular mechanisms that underlie normal cellular processes. The Institute is the cornerstone of the developing Brabraham Research Campus which is home to some 30 start-up companies and growing bioscience companies.
A natural bi-product of the university’s academic strength is that the university has an enviable record of producing spin out companies. The first spin out from the university dates back to 1878 but more recently has been responsible for producing companies such as Astex Pharmaceuticals, Chroma Therapeutics and Funxional Therapeutics. Spin outs from Cambridge University are supported by the University of Cambridge Enterprise which provides seed capital, consultancy and IP advice. Spin outs in Cambridge have also been well supported by a number of venture capital firms and biotechnology incubators. Venture capital companies such as ET Capital, Total Medical Ventures and IQ Capital partners are located in the cluster. Cambridge has a long and highly successful history in angel investments. Cambridge Angels is a group of investors who typically invest £50,000 to £500,000 in early stage ventures such as Phico Therapeutics and Oval Medical. Cambridge Angels have invested over £20m in over 40 companies in a variety of technology areas including biotechnology.
The Cambridge Science Park was founded in 1970 in response to the Mott Report. It is situated 4km outside of the city and has over 145,000sq m of R&D space in over 1 million sq ft of buildings. There are currently over 100 companies situated in the park employing over 5000 people. Although the park has traditionally been home to spin out companies it has also seen a number of global pharmaceutical companies set up operations in the park. Amgen, Genzyme, Mundipharma and Takeda are nestled alongside small innovative companies such as Sentinal Oncology, Novus Biologicals and Celldex. This park is just one of the many business parks that surround Cambridge, with Granta Park also highly prominent within the life sciences sector and this hosts companies like F-Star, Bicycle Therapeutics, Kymab, Vernalis, Gilead Sciences, MedImmune and Pfizer Regnerative Medicine. It also houses One Nucleus the organisation established to tie together the various aspects of the cluster. One Nucleus, formally known as ERBI is a not-for profit membership organisation which aims to maximise the global competitiveness of its members. The organisation has recently expanded to include the London Biotechnology Network (LBN) which has significantly boosted business-to-business interactions and elevated the cluster to a global level. One Nucleus now has over 500 members in fields such as pharma, biotech and medical devices. One Nucleus runs events and provides networking opportunities for it members. Of these, the Genesis conference attracts a global audience.
Cambridge is known globally as a centre for research excellence. This has drawn the attention of global pharmaceutical companies and innovative biotechs. In order to maximise this potential The Cambridge cluster is part of the Health Axis Europe (HAE). HAE links three key European clusters: Cambridge (UK), Leuven (Belgium) and Heidelberg (Germany). The combined expertise of these clusters focus on the development of regenerative medicine including stem cells, medical electronics, nanotechnology, personalized medicine and cancer research. Alongside One Nucleus and HAE the recent launch of the UK Golden Triangle Partnership will allow for the UK biotech clusters to work closely together and ultimately compete and collaborate with other leading global biotech clusters. The aim of the partnership is to develop international biopartnering and investment activities.
Liftstream believes that the opportunities offered by the Cambridge biotech cluster are far superior to many of its international competitors. The world leading research University coupled with global industry leader’s, access to capital and talent, improving infrastructure and successful ventures means Cambridge is constantly at the forefront of global life science developments and will remain a key component in the global life science industry.
For more information about the Cambridge Biotech Cluster, please visit these webistes: