Research into conditions such as multiple sclerosis and heart and liver disease will benefit from multi-million stem cell research and life sciences facilities due to be opened today (Monday, 28th May) by HRH, the Princess Royal.
The Princess Royal unveiled plaques this afternoon at the £54 million Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine (SCRM) and £24 million bio-incubator facility, Nine, in Edinburgh.
The University of Edinburgh’s Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine will carry out cutting-edge stem cell research to help find therapies for patients with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, and heart and liver diseases.
The centre is the first large-scale, purpose-built facility of its kind and provides accommodation for up to 250 stem cell scientists. The centre, funded by the University of Edinburgh, Scottish Enterprise, the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the British Heart Foundation through its Mending Broken Hearts Appeal, is being opened by the Princess Royal in her role as Chancellor of the University. It includes the most up-to-date facilities in the UK, which meet the highest guidelines, to manufacture stem cell lines that could be used for patient therapies.
Nine, which has been jointly funded by Scottish Enterprise and the UK Government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, provides 85,000 square feet of laboratory and office space for both established biotechnology companies and start-up ventures. These could include potential spin-out companies from the University of Edinburgh.
Both buildings form a major investment in research at Edinburgh BioQuarter, which is in the city’s Little France area and encompasses the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and the University of Edinburgh’s Queen’s Medical Research Institute and Chancellor’s Building.
Professor Charles ffrench-Constant, Director of the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the SCRM and Chair of Chair of Medical Neurology at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Recent research into stem cells has heralded the beginning of a revolution in modern medicine. The Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine’s great strength lies in bringing world-class clinicians and scientists to work together, encouraging the translation of laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients. The research will help in finding treatments for devastating conditions, for which there are currently no cures.”
Jim McFarlane, Managing Director of Operations at Scottish Enterprise said: “Scotland has a distinguished history in developing breakthroughs in medical science and we believe that, collectively, the concentration of world-class research and facilities at Edinburgh BioQuarter will provide a breeding ground conducive to new medical discoveries that will continue that tradition for centuries to come and have a significant impact on the Scottish economy. Already Nine has secured its first tenants and is attracting significant interest from potential occupiers from Scotland’s life sciences sector. Today marks a major milestone in cementing Scotland’s global reputation for excellence in commercialisation of medical research.”
Edinburgh BioQuarter is a joint venture between NHS Lothian, Scottish Enterprise, the University of Edinburgh and Alexandria Real Estate Equities, to boost developments in life sciences. This includes assisting the formation of spin-out companies from NHS and University of Edinburgh research, as well as encouraging partnerships with the bio-pharmaceutical industry.