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7 February, 2006 - 14:38 By Staff Reporter

World-class wet lab created at former Roche facility

A world-class research and development centre is set to open in Hertfordshire thanks to £8 million of funding from East of England Development Agency.

A world-class research and development centre is set to open in Hertfordshire thanks to £8 million of funding from East of England Development Agency.

The new state-of-the-art regional wet lab incubator centre, based in Welwyn, will be named Bio Park Hertfordshire.

It will provide specialist facilities and support for life science companies to grow and develop new products.

Working with former occupier, Swiss healthcare company, Roche Products, EEDA and the University of Hertfordshire stepped in to buy the laboratory complex.

All parties were keen to ensure that these valuable facilities were safeguarded for future use by the region’s life science companies.

Bio Park Hertfordshire aims to stimulate demand for research & development knowledge transfer among the region’s Life Science SMEs.

It will ensure strong links are developed between regional universities, research institutes and the private sector and assist in developing high skill levels to support the knowledge economy as part of the life sciences enterprise hub.

The complex of 100,000 sq ft of laboratories includes industrial chemistry and biology labs, offices, meeting rooms and a lecture theatre.

David Marlow, chief executive of EEDA, said: “One of the East of England’s key strengths is its impressive record in research and development (R & D).

“To maintain our leadership position in developing and realising innovation in science technology and research it is vital we have a good provision of high quality R & D facilities.

“By enabling the University of Hertfordshire to purchase this fantastic facility, EEDA is helping to ensure our region’s Life Science companies have access to the facilities they need to develop and grow.”

Professor Tim Wilson, vice-chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire, added: “This project is ideally suited to the University’s business focus and its commitment to breaking down barriers to collaboration between business, the professions, the public sector and academia.

“Our vision is to provide an ideal environment for innovative companies to grow and prosper.”

John Melville, MD of Roche in the UK, said: “We are delighted these facilities are to be used to further advances in the field of life sciences.

“Roche continues to have a strong presence in Welwyn Garden City, having recently moved to a bespoke office-complex in Shire Park that meets the developing needs of its 1,200-strong employee base. ”

The new facility will be managed by the University of Hertfordshire and overseen by a steering group of local and regional partners.


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