Scotland: Ushering in the next age of life sciences - - BioPharm International


Scotland: Ushering in the next age of life sciences

BioPharm International

This activity also reinforces Scotland's role in facilitating stem cell research, allowing scientists to access human stem cell lines on a non-profit basis and help start-up companies enter the stem cell arena.


Scotland's academic community offers industry the solid research foundation it needs to thrive in competitive markets. International life sciences powerhouses have sought out Scottish universities to facilitate progress in targeted industry areas. Geron Corporation (, for instance, is collaborating with the University of Edinburgh ( to conduct preclinical safety and efficacy studies with three types of cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. The research will take place at the Center for Regenerative Medicine, which provides not only state-of-the-art research facilities but also the expertise of leading scientists, such as Ian Wilmut, the creator of Dolly the sheep, in a rich environment for the advancement of stem cell research.

Another major collaboration is at University of Dundee's ( Division of Signal Transduction Therapy (DSTT) and involves six of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies including AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck Co. Inc., Merck KGaA, and Pfizer. This partnership was formed to advance the study of cell signaling and research kinase and phosphatase inhibitors for the treatment of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. The University of Dundee is also on the forefront of many of the world's most advanced cancer studies, along with the Beatson Cancer Research Institute ( and the University of Glasgow ( The close proximity among Scotland's major universities allows easy access for major collaborations among them and with nearby companies. In fact, 80% of the entire life sciences industry lies within a 50-mile radius of three of Scotland's main cities—Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee—providing easy access to the country's major life sciences centers.


Scotland's leading status in the life sciences will be strengthened in the coming years with several new developments in the pipeline, giving Scotland a new national identity as a life sciences hub. Under the new "Life Sciences Scotland" brand (, Scotland will market its life sciences capabilities to global investors and potential overseas partners, promoting the full breadth and depth of capability across the nation.

Among the strongest assets strengthening the Life Sciences Scotland brand will be the new Center for Biomedical Research (, part of the Edinburgh Science Triangle, which will position Edinburgh as one of the top ten cities for biomedical investments.

Additionally, the Life Sciences Alliance, formed last year and comprising senior representatives from the key public and private sector organizations involved in Scotland's Life Sciences, will aim to encourage closer working relationships among industry, academia, the National Health Service, and policy makers at a national level to facilitate Scottish innovation well into the twenty-first century.

KEN SNOWDEN is the director of life sciences for Scottish Enterprise, 150 Broomielaw, Atlantic Quay, Glasgow, Scotland, G2 8LU, tel. +141 228 2499,

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