Scottish Enterprise and Medical Marketing International plc (“MMI”), the Cambridge based technology management company listed on the London Stock Exchange, today announced that they have formed a partnership to establish a business incubator facility on the Alba Campus in central Scotland with the capacity to create around 500 jobs in markets worth more than $600 billion.
The new incubator will focus on the rapidly emerging area of nanotechnology as well as MMI’s established business in biotechnology with a special emphasis on where these two sectors overlap. This “convergent technology” sector is seen by many in both the biotechnology and electronics industries as the way to develop the products of the future.
The new team will initially be based in the new Alba Centre at Livingston and will work closely with Scottish universities and NHS trusts with the aim of commercialising research that brings together the strengths of the different disciplines such as biopharmaceutical and microelectronics. These projects will then be “mentored” by the MMI team and “incubated” in purpose-built laboratory or clean room facilities with a view to growing technology companies of the future, which will be successful on a global scale. Depending on the numbers of companies incubated, the project has the capacity to create more than 500 jobs.
Convergent and nanotechnologies can be seen in use in areas such as:
• Blood cleansing technology, where bacteria is cleaned out of blood using a microelectronic sensor,
• Drug delivery systems, where microelectronics is used to deliver drugs under a patient’s skin, and
• ‘Lab on a chip’ where lab techniques are built into a chip or a hand held device using microelectronic technology.
Robert Crawford, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise said: "This is a tremendous development for Scotland and the Alba Centre, as it takes the technology of System on Chip, for which Alba is already internationally recognised, and marries it with bio and nanotechnologies. This area of convergence creates some fantastic opportunities for Scotland in areas such as medical diagnostics and therapeutics, drug discovery and environmental monitoring.
“Scotland fully recognises the importance of strategic partnerships, especially where technologies converge, to give us leadership in creating the products of the future. We are already seeing a number of inter-disciplinary teams formed within Scottish universities, bringing together different mindsets to develop innovative products for emerging markets. The partnership with MMI will provide the opportunity to take these projects and products onto a global stage. We wish them every success for the future.”
David Best, Chairman of MMI Group, said: "Scotland's 13 universities and 46 NHS trusts are at the forefront of technological development. Using MMI's successful incubation model, we believe that we can unlock the commercial value of leading edge technologies to satisfy large markets where there is unmet need thereby creating jobs and wealth for Scotland and enhanced value for MMI shareholders. This partnership is a quantum leap in MMI's development."
The new operation will follow the model of MMI’s facility in Cambridge by identifying people and technologies within Scottish universities and NHS trusts, appropriate for development into high growth businesses, and then using MMI's expertise in building companies to help them grow. A dedicated incubator facility will be built on the Alba Campus to guide these embryonic companies through to a stage where they can become self-reliant, and then move to their own facilities on the Alba Campus.
Billy Mitchell, Managing Director of the new business explained: “MMI has proven expertise and a successful track record in commercialising biotechnology and the Alba Centre is leading the development of the electronic design industry. This was a perfect opportunity to bring these two disciplines together with the potential to create many exciting world-class companies leading developments in biotechnology, nanotechnology and convergent technologies.”
“This new initiative will produce a powerful coalition of biologists, chemists, physicists, engineers and business people who together will help develop Scotland’s knowledge-based economy in parallel with the development of MMI’s business.”
David Crichton, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise Edinburgh and Lothians, which is responsible for the Alba Centre, said: “This is an exciting new development for the Alba Centre and the Alba Campus. The convergence between technologies such as biotechnology and microelectronics is the way forward for developing the projects of the future. We are delighted that Alba, once again, will play a leading part in driving these developments.”