The Golden Triangle
The U.K. has a number of biotech centers in London, Oxford, and Cambridge. This is known as the Golden Triangle because geographically these centers are arranged in a triangle with both Oxford and Cambridge just 60 miles north of London.
“The U.K. is geographically quite small, and many people don’t realize that all three Golden Triangle clusters will easily fit into the MassBio cluster,” comments Glyn Edwards, interim CEO of U.K. bioscience trade organization the BioIndustry Association. “However, despite the U.K.’s small size, we have many good companies with world-leading technologies.”
London is traditionally a financial center but does have a number of leading universities, which are biotech powerhouses. Additionally, in 2015 a major new biomedical research site, the Francis Crick Institute, will be opening its doors to 1,500 scientists.
There are also a number of biotech incubator centers that allow bioscience research to be commercialized. These include the London BioScience Innovation Centre, QMB (Queen Mary Bioenterprises) Innovation Centre, and the Imperial Incubator.
“Nobody thinks of London as a global biotech hub, yet some of the world’s top universities are here doing great work in areas such as oncology, neuroscience, and regenerative medicine,” says Tony Jones, Ph.D., director of business development at the biotech networking organization One Nucleus.
“We don’t have vast science parks but we do have three incubators. I believe in the next decade, London is very much going to be where the innovation is started, since coming up with the clever ideas is what we’re good at in the U.K. When the companies want to grow, they’ll move out along the major routes toward the BioPark at Welwyn or the BioScience Catalyst at Stevenage and also to Cambridge, so it will create a corridor of innovation similar to the IT corridor that arose in the U.K. in the seventies.”
For the U.K. to remain competitive, according to Dr. Jones, it must produce innovations that can be incorporated as part of the global value chain in creating new therapeutics. Successful biotech companies in London that illustrate this approach are PolyTherics and Stabilitech.
PolyTherics licenses its glycopolymer-conjugation technologies to enable partners to develop improved biopharmaceuticals through PK/PD optimization, antibody drug conjugates, and bi-specific products, as well as targeted drug delivery. Stabilitech has a thermal stabilization technology that enables vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, and potentially cell therapies to be stored at a range of temperatures.