Once again, welcome to Discovery Park’s latest newsletter. I’d like to start by wishing you, your families and businesses all the best in these uncertain times.
We talked about adaptability and resilience in our June newsletter, and it’s clear that these characteristics are still being displayed as the year draws to a close. Some of our tenants are seeing business expansion – for example, homecare nurse provider Wren Healthcare has recruited significantly during the pandemic. Discovery Park has remained open for business since the start of the pandemic thanks to the dedication of our staff. With a number of tenants engaged in COVID-19 related work, we are pleased to be able to support them.
There’s been plenty of progress here as the stories below show, external circumstances notwithstanding. We’ve welcomed new companies and been pleased to see firms raising funds. Working with local stakeholders and partners, the Discovery Park growth and innovation plan has been boosted by funding news. We continue to build our Manufacturing Village vision, discussing it in our lunchtime webinars.
Read on for more updates, and do get in touch if you have any comments, or would like to know more about our laboratory and office facilities.
Mayer Schreiber, CEO
Dr Martino Picardo, Chairman
Growth continues at Discovery Park as new tenants arrive
Psyros Diagnostics and VisusNano have both taken laboratory and office space at the Park in recent months. For medtech company VisusNano, its new facilities will enable the rapid scale up of its proprietary biodegradable intraocular lens, MEDILens, which is being developed to counter inflammation following cataract surgery.
Psyros Diagnostics is developing a next-generation point-of-care testing system, significantly improving analytical sensitivity over those available now, starting with cardiac markers in the case of heart attacks. Read more about the companies’ plans and funding here.
VisusNano’s Chief Scientific Officer, Darren Pitt, in the new facilities.
Avvinity Therapeutics also announced a fundraise (see ‘tenant news’ below).
Tenants & activities highlighted in Innovate UK visit
A virtual ‘visit’ from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, at the end of September gave us the chance to highlight some of our tenants and activities. Innovate UK-funded companies VisusNano and Psyros joined the discussions, as did eXroid, Firza and Wren Healthcare, three of our Health Hub companies.
The Health Hub brings together, for partnering and collaboration, tenants looking to change the healthcare industry with new technologies, research and services for improving patients’ lives and experiences.
Chewing over manufacturing with ‘Virtual Sandwich’ Lunches
Undeterred by the pandemic, Discovery Park has continued to engage with industry leaders to discuss the key issues in manufacturing and innovation. In the first two ‘Virtual Sandwich’ lunch webinars, Dr Tony Bradshaw of Cobra Biologics and then Dr Terry O’Neill of the KTN joined our Chairman Dr Martino Picardo in conversation.
The talks were wide ranging, covering apprenticeships, skills, recruitment and access to funding. Look out for another one soon.
August was a great month for Discovery Park, with news of two sets of funding which will help to advance our innovation and manufacturing plans.
£2.5m of government funding to accelerate delivery of incubator at Discovery Park
From the middle of next year there will be space for around 25 SMEs in our new Incubator facility. It’s being developed with £2.5m from local government under the ‘Getting Building’ Fund, matched by £3m from Discovery Park. Please get in touch to find out more about the laboratory and office space available.
Kent consortium gets green light to develop £60m investment bid to accelerate medicines development
It was also announced that a Kent consortium including Discovery Park has been awarded £50,000 to develop a £60m proposal to accelerate medicines development via data and digital technology. If the bid is successful, the Accelerated Medicines Design and Development facility would be based at here as part of UK Research and Innovation’s Strength in Places initiative. Led by Kent Surrey Sussex Academic Health Science Network, the consortium also includes LGC, Pfizer, and the University of Kent.
Freeport status would significantly catalyse growth of Discovery Park
We also worked with the Port of Dover on its response to the Government’s Freeports Consultation. As Mayer discusses here, Freeport status would significantly catalyse our growth, particularly driving domestic and inward investment in manufacturing capacity and the development of our Manufacturing Village vision.
Discovery Park will now work with partners to formalise and submit plans to establish the UK’s first Global Trade and Innovation Zone.
News and Events
News from our tenants – an update on recent developments
Meet us at upcoming conferences
With Discovery Park, The Defence and Security Accelerator, Enterprise Europe Network, Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and Kent County Council.