Millions invested to help life sciences fight infectious disease

The UK’s centre for therapeutics innovation, Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC), has received a £5 million grant to build a Translational Research Facility in Infectious Disease on its Alderley Park site, as part of the government’s Getting Building Fund programme.

Actively seeking collaborations with SMEs, academics and others in infectious disease research, the new facility is set to become a beacon of science and enterprise and a critical infrastructure for future infection readiness. Likewise, the multi-million pound government grant represents a vote of confidence in the potential of the region for life sciences.

Building on the success of the MDC-led Lighthouse Lab, which employs more than 650 staff at Alderley Park and has undertaken more than 10 million diagnostic tests for Covid-19, the £13 million MDC match-funded project is set to enable SMEs and academic innovators to advance the next generation of innovative therapeutics, diagnostics and biomarkers for high risk infectious diseases towards patient use.

Due for completion in March 2022, the project incorporates 8,000 sq. ft. of specialist laboratory space and will include the creation of a UK-leading category three biosafety (BSL3) facility, growing the capacity and capability of the UK’s medicines discovery sector. The new high containment labs will unlock access to expertise and infrastructure for academics and commercial organisations alike to rapidly develop and validate diagnostics and treatments fora range of modern challenges, such as Covid-19 and the emerging threat of antimicrobial resistance.

Professor Peter Simpson, Chief Scientific Officer at The Medicines Discovery Catapult, said: “The new facility will further enable impactful research towards validating new Infectious Disease therapeutics and diagnostics. MDC exists to support UK innovators and is passionate about growing the UK’s ability to respond to major and emerging health challenges. […] The funding has presented us with a new opportunity to further realise Alderley Park, Cheshire, and the wider North West’s potential as a global player in Infection Biology translation; maximising the region’s economic growth and international prominence.”

Clare Hayward MBE, DL, Chair of the Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Life science research is a fundamental strength of the regional economy and drives growth. Alderley Park itself is central to the Cheshire Science Corridor and our Enterprise Zone. This latest project with the Medicines Discovery Catapult is another example of our commitment to the site, which to date has included the £3.9 million grant towards the refurbishment of the Glasshouse building, and 18 of the investments from the Greater Manchester & Cheshire Life Science Investment Fund.”

Image credit: Josh Appel

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