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Invitrogen's Scottish investment bodes well for region

By Wai Lang Chu , 12-Jun-2006

Invitrogen has announced the opening of a new research facility to be located in Scotland. The decision adds to the investment influx within the region, which has seen 20 per cent of the UK's biotech companies set up research capacities there.

Invitrogen's new £17m (€24m) investment closely follows a hive of Scottish activity that has seen Aptuit raise £20m for a research centre in West Lothian; the £165m flotation of Optos in Fife, and Cyclacel raising £25m from a rights issue.

Invitrogen, keen to make more of an impact in Europe with its technologies for disease research, drug discovery and commercial bio-production, aims to create six new global corporate research centres.

The one located in Inchinnan, Scotland will become the company's expanded European headquarters.

Scotland has become an attractive proposition for many companies within the life sciences industry. This is due in part to Scotland's well-developed business angel community, and from Scottish Enterprise's Co-Investment Fund, which tends to invest alongside those angels.

Indeed, >Invitrogen 's investment has been supported by £4.3m from the Scottish Executive.

Additionally, overseas investment has boosted the Scottish landscape with the US amongst the most prominent. It already owns the majority of Scotland's life sciences industry through firms such as Aptuit, Charles River (which owns Inveresk Research), Invitrogen and Upstate.

Scottish Enterprises recently reported on a £50m investment to create a Scottish Translational Medicine Research Collaboration with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.

Wyeth, which has a prominence in Philadelphia, plans to invest an estimated £33m in the first five years with Scottish Enterprise investing up to £17.5m.

Translational Medicine is a new approach to developing new drugs and treatments by focusing research on new tests for the diagnosis and monitoring of human diseases.

The tests, which use biomarkers, t can be measured in blood samples or X-rays of patients. They can then be used to follow the progress and response to the treatment of patients with diseases such as heart attacks, cancer, depression and osteoporosis.

"Translational Medicine provides a major opportunity to reduce the bottlenecks in the development of new drug treatments, with significant resultant benefits in economic development and health," said Jack Perry, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise.

"Scotland is in a strong position to be a centre for Translational Medicine as a result of its excellence in life sciences, culture of collaboration between the NHS and Universities, and the fantastic support that the Scottish people have demonstrated for medical research," he added.

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