Pioneer Group has announced a new partnership with King’s College London to launch new dedicated start-up incubators in biotech and medtech on the South Bank of London.
The spaces, totalling 95,000 square feet across two sites, will cater for university enterprises and early-stage companies in the fields of biotech and medtech, helping them to develop new products and technologies that will help improve patient treatment and care.
The partnership will revitalise two sites on the South Bank of London, which are currently empty, to provide wet and dry laboratories, office, and co-working space as well as access to critical equipment. The spaces will be configured to support high tech spin-outs from an early stage.
King’s has a long history of successful technology – the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953 was made possible by Dr Rosalind Franklin’s X-ray diffraction work at the institution.
The university’s Entrepreneurship Institute is focused on producing the next generation of spin-outs, such as C the Signs, an online tool used by GPs to identify patients at risk of cancer; and its Research Management and Innovation Directorate has supported successful spin-out enterprises including Quell, Autolus and Pheon Therapeutics. The ecosystem locally is further enhanced by King’s Health Partners, one of only eight Academic Health Science Centres in the UK, which is focussed on improving commercialisation of research and creating an Advanced Therapies and Biomedical Sciences Hub for the benefit of patients.
Pioneer Group will lead the design, development, and operation of the facilities. Once complete, they will offer flexible space to aspiring companies, as well as mentoring and support programmes, access to venture capital and the benefits of Pioneer’s UK wide ecosystem and expert network.
News of the partnership comes just a few weeks after the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, announced £650 million of pledges to fire up the UK’s life sciences sector. Dubbed the “Life Sci for Growth” package, it will see up to £250 million committed to incentivising pension schemes to invest in “promising” science and technology companies while nearly £50 million has also been pledged to scientific efforts to prepare for future health emergencies. In addition, £154 million will go towards increasing the capacity of the UK’s biological data bank.
Glenn Crocker, executive director at Pioneer Group said: “King’s is recognised internationally for the impact of its research in Life Sciences and Medicine. It has produced some exceptional spin outs in the last few years in the fields of immunology and oncology amongst others. We are delighted to be working with King’s to house and help scale their exciting spin out companies. We look forward to working with the wider team at King’s to help make the journey out of academia and into commercial reality as smooth and efficient as possible.”
Professor Richard Trembath, senior vice president for Health & Life Sciences at King’s College London and executive director of King’s Health Partners added: “We are delighted to welcome Pioneer Group to the South Bank as they have a proven track record of providing specialist spaces where early-stage spin-outs can flourish. This is an important requirement as we enhance Innovation@King’s and an early pillar for the SC1 life sciences innovation district. SC1 is a collaboration between the King’s Health Partners, the London Boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark, and the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation, dedicated to creating partnerships between world-class researchers, clinicians and industry to develop innovative and life-changing technologies and therapies for our local and global communities.”
Pioneer Group’s operating asset base consists of more than four million square feet of highly serviced office/laboratory and manufacturing space in key locations in the UK and Ireland, including Nottingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Dublin.
The company delivers the most comprehensive suite of accelerator and venture building, helping founders to transfer cutting-edge discovery into visionary ventures that scale. Pioneer Group’s in-house team supports start-ups and scale-ups and works in partnership with organisations such as Innovate UK AbbVie, Astellas, Academic Health Science Networks and many of the UK’s leading universities.
Pioneer Group also backs early-stage life science companies with investment from its venture capital funds. Since 2015, Pioneer Group has supported over 80 early-stage ventures which have raised more than £200 million.