GHP September 2015

ghp September 2015 | 25 research and development Cambridge has the potential to become a hub for life sci- ence work, as it is already the largest life science cluster in all of Europe despite being a relatively small city. The city’s economy is based firmly around the Univer- sity, with ideas being created there and transferred to private companies through funding and the employ- ment of former students. Cambridge University and in particular the Babraham Research Campus provide a perfect platform for nurturing talent in the area and providing a springboard for new ideas which can then be taken further by the introduction of industry partners. The University has created the intellectual space for these young companies to start to grow by creating innovators from its students, but they require the infra- structure to succeed in the area, such as laboratories and companies willing to fund research. This infrastructure is already growing, with the Cam- bridge Science Park, which was founded in the early 1970s being key to this. The park allowed innova- tors in life sciences from the University to grow and expand their activities, creating larger firms and more infrastructure and making Cambridge a key talent base in the industry. Lack of space to develop ideas is a critical issue in every research-led industry and Cuff believes that Cambridge could hold the key to helping the life science industry expand in the future, bringing together companies with innovative ideas in one space. “I believe that Cambridge has all the essential ele- ments needed to become one of the world’s leading life science cluster markets. It has a foundation of world- class research institutions led by Cambridge University, an ample supply of millennial workers that life science companies need to grow, support for local and national U.K. government and great access of transportation with Stansted Airport and Central London close by. “The lack of available lab space is becoming a acute in the U.K. as small and mid-sized companies are unable to find the necessary space to grow and conduct their ground breaking research. It is critical that companies continue to invest and develop more space that will allow Cambridge to meet the growing demand for life science real estate. This effort will require commitment and partnership between the government, research institutions like Cambridge University and the private sector such as BioMed Realty.” Although London is the capital city and has a high concentration of research centres, Cuff is keen to emphasise that growth in Cambridge will produce a city which will become central to the British life sciences industry. “London currently has approximately 80,000sf of commercial space located in various incubators around the city. With the academic and entrepre- neurial clout being created at the powerful London universities such as UCL, Kings and Imperial, as well as top-flight research institutions including The Crick Institute (soon to open), the Institute for Cancer Research and Cancer Research UK; there a growing scarcity of space to allow collaboration to grow into companies and then to scale that growth. “There are a number of examples of companies such as Retroscreen, and Polytherics that get started in London; but then move to Cambridge where they can scale their business. Additionally, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has recognized this and has created a group, ‘Med City’, to help grow and retain the life science industry in London. One of Med City’s focuses is to try and identify areas around London to help foster a Life Science Cluster. “A number of large firms which developed out of the University chose to stay in Cambridge because of the wonderful talent base. As they grew, more and more developers began to seize this opportunity. Today, the University of Cambridge is such a large attraction; AstraZeneca has decided to put its corporate HQ adjacent to Addenbrooks Hospital. They are currently building a brand new campus. As they are building this campus, AZ is moving many groups down from Cheshire and renting any and all space (office and lab) in the market, which has the effect of limiting supply in the Cambridge market in the short term.” BioMed Realty has supported numerous firms within the life sciences industry including Illumina, Regen- eron and Bristol Myers Squibb to focus on bringing lifesaving new drugs to the market without having to worry about a lack of infrastructure or laboratory space for development, and has invested heavily in Cambridge based projects in the process. Cuff explains what the company believes is needed for the city to establish itself as a centre for life sciences innovation: “Cambridge needs to continue to develop life science real estate and knowledge communities that will help recruit and retain biotech companies by creating environments that foster and grow new life science companies, which will bring in fresh ideas and invigorate the industry.” Overall, further investment is needed to ensure a firm base but early work has already created a good envi- ronment for life science innovation to grow. Cambridge has long been a historic university city and the birth- place of innovations in almost every industry. Life science real estate specialists BioMed Realty believe it could potentially be a hub for the life science industry in the future. We speak to Direc- tor Doug Cuff about why the firm is investing heavily in the area.