Barclays has selected Discovery Park in Kent as the home for its latest Eagle Lab which will open later this year.
The lab will help facilitate collaboration between the Life Sciences and Technology sectors, with the aim of driving development of a community base focused on clean energy, agri-tech and addressing future challenges in healthcare.
The Barclays Eagle Lab network is one of the largest co-working and incubator networks for start-ups and scale-ups in the UK. The Labs are spaces to help entrepreneurs and ambitious businesses collaborate, innovate and grow.
With recent YouGov figures reporting that almost 70 per cent* of Life Sciences companies are already collaborating with a tech software partner, or expect to in the near future, the creation of a new Eagle Lab at Discovery Park will provide a fantastic level of support for existing companies while offering an incentive for rapidly growing organisations to join the network.
One of just seven Life Science Opportunity Zones in the UK, Discovery Park is a 220-acre science and technology park at Sandwich which offers high quality laboratory, office and manufacturing facilities. As well as space and support to expand and grow, the site currently employs around 3,500 people and offers access to financing and has strong links to the local scientific talent pool.
Work is almost complete to refurbish 50,000 ft2 of laboratories and collaborative workspace creating a wet lab incubator for start-up biotech and life science businesses, ready for occupation from August 2022.
Jane Kennedy, Chief Business Officer at Discovery Park, said: “Discovery Park is home to over 160 companies, with a significant proportion of these working in science and technology-based businesses. We’re incredibly excited to welcome the new Barclays Eagle Lab to Discovery Park which will provide a fantastic opportunity for collaboration and innovation among the Life Sciences and Technology sectors. We have real aspirations of creating a tech cluster at Discovery Park and this partnership with Barclays will help us achieve this.
“The new Thanet Parkway railway station, opening next year, will see Discovery Park less than an hour from London St Pancras and the growing Knowledge Quarter there. The creation of a Barclays Eagle Lab at Discovery Park will support our wider ambition to build collaborative and productive links with the Knowledge Quarter which is home to The Crick Institute, Digital Catapult, Google and Yahoo, among others, catalysing opportunities for our tenant companies.”
Entrepreneurs using the Eagle Lab space at Discovery Park will be supported by a dedicated Ecosystem Manager who will provide the technical expertise, mentoring and connections required to integrate companies into Barclays’ UK wide network, bringing businesses together to create potential new partnerships and collaborations. Barclays’ local business banking teams and specialist ‘high-growth’ managers will also be available to provide banking support to companies and entrepreneurs.
Jon Hope, Director of Barclays Eagle Labs, said: “We’re really excited to partner with Discovery Park and bring the first Eagle Lab to Kent. We’ll bring our Eagle Labs philosophy to Sandwich helping to provide start-ups and scale-ups a home and fostering the connections to help them grow, as well as the new facility furthering our support for the region’s entrepreneurs.”
Among its growing tenant community, Discovery Park has been home to Pfizer since the 1950s which has helped build the site’s reputation as a centre for global drug discovery. A number of Pfizer’s key business components are based at Discovery Park, including Pharmaceutical Sciences, Safety and Regulatory, Medical, quality assurance and wider business support functions.
Melissa Hanna-Brown, Senior Director, Global External Strategic Innovation Lead, at Pfizer, said: “Fostering incubation development is critical to support start-up companies to achieve future success. For Pfizer, being able to access and tap into new innovative approaches to life science development on our doorstep is vital as we continue to drive our purpose of delivering breakthroughs that change patients’ lives. We look forward to working with Discovery Park as they forge this exciting new relationship with Barclays Eagle Labs.”
* 2021 YouGov survey