Discovery Park, based at Sandwich in Kent, has become the first Life Science and Innovation Campus to join the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC).

The move is part of Discovery Park’s wider commitment to engage with the UK’s growing industrial biotechnology community, supporting and championing innovation and commercialisation of new industrial biotechnology (IB) processes and products.

With the global drive towards sustainable living, IB offers a green alternative to fossil fuels, for energy, medicines or sustainable food sources. Joining IBioIC gives Discovery Park the opportunity to link with a broad but interrelated network of industry, universities, and governments to bring biotechnology processes and products to the global market.

Discovery Park’s drive towards IB builds upon the site’s reputation for drug discovery and manufacture, having been home to Pfizer since the 1950s. Work is currently underway to refurbish 50,000 foot squared of laboratories and collaborative workspace, creating an ‘incubator’ for start-up biotech and life science businesses.

The Kent-based science park is already actively engaged with local academic institutions offering research expertise to the benefit of the IB community. It also has attracted a growing cluster of IB companies involved in agritech and sustainable food sources, including the latest arrival of vertical farming company GrowUp.

Jane Kennedy, Chief Business Officer at Discovery Park, said: “The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre has undoubtedly done a fantastic job of catalysing the growth of the sector in Scotland. It is clear to me that joining the IBioIC offers Discovery Park opportunities to collaborate and make connections between my tenant companies in Kent with the fast-growing network in Scotland. We hope to bring together companies that can learn from each other how to turn great ideas into great businesses.

“The membership will also help us to become the centre of excellence in the South East for industrial biotechnology, aiming to deliver thousands of new jobs and economic growth for the region. It will in turn give IBioIC the opportunity to work with new companies active in biotechnology and help grow its ecosystem and encourage further investment in the sector. We look forward to collaborating with the team at IBioIC.”

Mark Bustard, Chief Executive of IBioIC, said: “The innovation centre plays an important role in supporting the growth of the UK’s bioeconomy, connecting industry partners with research teams to explore alternative bio-based materials and processes across a range of sectors. So far, we have supported more than 200 companies to bring new products to the global market and connecting with IB research and science hubs such as the Discovery Park will no doubt unlock further opportunities. Almost £30 million of additional industry investment has been generated as a direct result of IBioIC innovation activities to date, contributing to more than 3,000 high-value green jobs.”