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Boost for UK bioscience as MedCity launches

London Mayor Boris Johnson declares ‘golden trial’ of medical research
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London's MedCity initiative has been officially launched with a £4m warchest that aims to make it a rival to other scientific hubs around the world.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson laid out his plans for MedCity at Imperial College London yesterday, saying how the initiative would create a 'golden triangle' of medical research and translation expertise between London, Oxford and Cambridge.

"We need to channel that intellectual pre-eminence into a positive impact on our economy," said Johnson at the launch event, noting that MedCity will encompass research, clinical development and manufacturing across a broad range of medical technologies, including biopharma and medical devices.

"I am in no doubt that having the whole 'chain' from small spin-offs to massive companies … here in London and the south east can be as important to our economy as the financial services sector is today," he added, noting the life sciences sector is growing faster than any other in this region of the UK.

The Mayor's office is putting up £1m in funding to back the project, along with a little over £2.9m from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, and the aim of MedCity is to provide a "concierge" role for emerging discoveries in life sciences, promoting them around the world and encouraging investment.

It is anticipated that the project would run along similar lines as the Tech City set up in east London in 2010, which has led to the creation of thousands of new businesses and created a hot spot of technology expertise around what has become known as Shoreditch's Silicon Roundabout.

The BioIndustry Association (BIA) welcomed the MedCity launch, with chief executive Steve Bates saying it would drive greater global investment into the sector, increase analyst coverage and understanding, and encourage collaboration with other bioclusters in the UK.  

Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse said that London, Oxford and Cambridge represent "the most powerful scientific discovery engine in the world" and MedCity "will create new companies, new therapies, new investments and to deliver economic and patient benefits."

It will also help to identify gaps in the triangle's offering, and "seek to fill them by bringing together the key players," he added.

MedCity has been set up by the Mayor's office and Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre, King's Health Partners and UCLPartners, alongside the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford.

The organisation's board includes figures such as Imperial's VP (Health) Professor Dermot Kelleher, director of the Crick Institute Sir Paul Nurse, and successful entrepreneurs including Dr Hermann Hauser as well as leading political, medical and charitable representatives.

Article by
Phil Taylor

9th April 2014

From: Research

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