Knowledge Networks: London and the Ox-Cam Arc
The Stevenage Life Sciences research and R&D cluster is
centred around the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, which
was developed by GSK, the Wellcome Foundation and UK
Government and which is located directly adjacent to
GSK R&D activity.
The cluster comprises the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst
(SBC) Incubator and Accelerator buildings and the Cell and
Gene Therapy Manufacturing Catapult (CGTMC) and the
Spark Building. Sycamore House, which is a new addition
to the campus, is currently being brought forward to help
companies expand in the location and is due to open in
Q2 2021. Together, these facilities will provide around
23,200 sq m (250,000 sq ft) of floor space.
The campus provides a home for over 40 companies
focusing on a multitude of therapeutic areas, and has gone
from strength to strength as an open innovation ecosystem
for healthcare R&D, since the project’s inception in 2012.
Companies located here have collectively raised in excess
of £1bn since that date, with over £300m of this having
been raised in 2019 alone.
The campus has a particular focus on research and R&D into
Cell and Gene therapy, with a number of the worlds leading
companies in this field located within SBC. Companies
located here report that proximity to the CGTMC and each
other helps drive forward the speed at which they can
bring their products and services to market. Many are
patenting new manufacturing technologies in the novel
field of cell and gene therapy, and both the support on offer
at SBC and the CGTMC have lead to the campus achieving
an internationally recognised status for the development of
this pioneering activity.
In 2020, the campus was awarded Life Sciences
Opportunity Zone Status by the Office for Life Sciences.
In December 2019, the Spark building opened on
the campus to meet the needs of rapidly growing
companies in the short — medium term. Sycamore
House is simultaneously being brought forward through
a collaboration between Kadans Science Partner — a
specialist R&D sector property developer — and SBC. The
development is to repurpose an existing warehouse
previously owned by GSK, situated directly adjacent to
existing activity to provide c.9,300 sq m (100,000 sq
ft) of high quality multi-occupied office and laboratory
The level of demand for space has been
high, with all suites in the building already spoken for
15 months prior to anticipated completion. Building design
has been focussed on retaining the existing industrial
features of the building, whilst simultaneously providing
a highly collaborative environment and tying services
seamlessly in with other buildings on the campus. The
innovative approach of comprehensive refurbishment to
deliver space rapidly for the sector and involvement of a
private sector investor are testament to the strength of
the location as a Knowledge Network.
‘The open innovation ecosystem that has been nurtured
in Stevenage by the parties here is making a real
difference to the pace that companies can develop their
products and services.
The demand for space is unprecedented. Growth rates and
funding successes of companies working in collaboration
is testament to the atmosphere that we endeavour to
maintain on the campus.
We are incredibly excited to be working with Kadans
Science partner; the comprehensive refurbishment of
Sycamore House will be a flagship example of the kind
of innovative approach that needs to be taken to provide
space for the expanding sector.’
Dr Sally Ann Forsyth, CEO, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst