100 Life Sciences Showcase – Life Sciences companies need a healthy ecosystem to grow

Promotional Business Feature: 100 Life Sciences Showcase - In Association with Milton Park and Freeths Solicitors

The government’s Life Sciences Vision aims to make the UK a leading global hub for life sciences. But the companies themselves can’t do this alone. Everyone needs the right support system to grow.

Coming up with a potentially life-changing idea may be the easy part. Making it happen needs an army of help.

And for those working in the highly complex life sciences sector, that will need to be from experienced professionals who have the right knowledge to help guide the rookie entrepreneur through the challenges they’re likely to face.

This ranges from law firms that understand the intricacies of intellectual property and can offer support to entrepreneurial companies in a highly regulated and competitive sector, to landlords who understand that a young company needs flexibility in office and lab space. This enables them to respond to fast growth or, sometimes, scaling back if research and development temporarily stalls.

Then there are the architects and construction companies that understand specific requirements that must be met when building a science laboratory – where good ventilation is essential and other facilities, such as fume cupboards, need to be correctly designed and installed.

There are dedicated manufacturers for the life sciences sector too, and suppliers to those manufacturers – it’s a long supply chain and pretty much all of them will need to meet stringent regulations to operate in the life sciences sector.


Where do the best ideas grow?

There will be many answers to this but for a lot of us, what starts as an idea from one person grows into a workable business idea through collaboration, networking and unexpected partnerships which are increasingly happening thanks to the growth of innovation hubs around the region.

An innovation hub is a space where start-ups, established companies and entrepreneurs work alongside each other developing their own ideas. At its most basic, it offers a desk, chair and fast-broadband access. At its most sophisticated, these spaces will offer lab space and opportunities for collaboration between seemingly the most disparate companies as they bond over the coffee machine or communal lunch table.

Across the region there are more than 100 innovation hubs, many with specific facilities for life sciences companies, based on existing science parks, in town and city centres and even more rural locations.

With its existing innovation centre already full in Oxfordshire, Milton Park’s management team has just completed the transformation of 140 Eastern Avenue into Oxfordshire’s largest and newest collaborative workspace – the Bee House.

The Bee House offers private office suites, Skype booths and flexible space for young and growing businesses.

Culham Innovation Centre, based at one of Europe’s leading science and technology centres nearby, has dedicated labs, workshops and office space designed for innovators in the science sector.

The Oxford Centre for Innovation and its sister Wood Centre for Innovation, close to Headington’s Health and Life Sciences District, offers co-working and a wider business community.

Heyford Park Innovation Centre, based on the former RAF base near Bicester, is also home to a mix of technology and science-based businesses.

As the University of the West of England campus at Bristol, Future Space offers co-working space and purpose-built laboratories specifically for high-tech, science-based entrepreneurs and innovators.

This feature has been published inside our May Issue of Business & Innovation Magazine in association with Freeths and Milton Park.

To see the feature in print, read our latest edition online.

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