The project’s success includes 201 new jobs generated within Scotland’s thriving life sciences sector, coupled with over £26 million raised in private investment, against a project goal of just £5 million at its outset.
The MediCity approach focuses on coaching evidence-based entrepreneurship, allowing scientists to test hypotheses about the commercial viability of their ideas without the need for significant investment. It also develops the skills and mindset required to accelerate the commercialisation of scientific research from lab to market.
The model, which has been rolled out across several other life science and health technology clusters in the UK, is partly based on lean start-up methodology. This has been widely adopted by the tech start-up community across the globe and has been uniquely adapted to life sciences company creation by BioCity. Entrepreneurs refine their products with as little waste as possible and use customer feedback during the ongoing product development process.
Colin Roberts, venture development director of BioCity Group, pioneers of the MediCity project, said: “The MediCity project and its accelerator programme has provided a supportive and exciting environment for companies to commercialise opportunities in medtech, healthtech, digital health, healthcare and wellness since its launch in 2015. The success of the new companies in raising significant private investment funding and creating new high value jobs across Scotland demonstrates the value of its collaborative approach which has far exceeded many of its original targets. The outcomes have been achieved with relatively modest public sector co-funding, representing a significant return on investment for the project stakeholders.
“MediCity Glasgow operates holistically, supporting entrepreneurs at every stage, whether they have the mere spark of an idea or are further along the path to commercialisation. By applying scientific rigour to the business process, residents are taught to revise, adjust and fine tune their approach to commercialisation as they would when driving forward the science behind their product.
“Continued and sustained investment in the commercialisation of life sciences and health technology research is essential to both economic recovery in Scotland and the continued fight against COVID-19. If continued, the project can scale its impact on the sector even further, significantly building on Scotland’s established expertise in life sciences and complementing a number of new infrastructure projects planned across Scotland. These will require a significant pool of early stage companies to ensure longer term growth targets are met during and beyond the pandemic.”
Partner organisations involved in the MediCity Glasgow project include BioCity, Scottish Enterprise, Glasgow City Region Deal, North Lanarkshire Council and the UK Department of Business Innovation and Skills.
Origin Peptides, a Scottish Edge 2020 winner, is an early-stage resident of the MediCity Glasgow site and alumni of the onsite accelerator programme. The company has developed a new method of peptide synthesis which is cleaner and more efficient than existing methods. It has the potential to make insulin cheaper and more readily available, among multiple other applications.
Now part of the Scottish Enterprise High Growth Portfolio, Origin Peptides expects to increase headcount from three to 10 people in the next few years, including creating several highly skilled manufacturing jobs as the company expands production capabilities, research and development.
Sara ten Have, founder and director of Origin Peptides, said: “Science is a very expensive field and it can be incredibly difficult to secure the funds required for equipment, lab space and skilled personnel to produce the results you need.
“MediCity has been phenomenal for us. Not only did it provide us with a suitable base from which to operate and a supporting infrastructure that was ready to go, but it introduced us to the right people, who were able to give us the right advice at the right time as part of the accelerator.
“The wider BioCity community is really inspiring, and a great example of how Scotland’s life science community works well and collaborates together for the greater good. The peptide pharmaceutical industry is worth $25 billion per annum and growing at approximately 7% each year. With support from MediCity, we’ve already secured strong interest in what we have to offer and expect to significantly disrupt this market within the next decade.”