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Cabinet minister announces grant for Milton Science centre

Published on: 30/01/2014

Milton Park has been awarded a share of a £100 million Government cash injection to accelerate growth and jobs in Enterprise Zones across the UK.

It will receive a grant of up to £7 million to support the development of a £14 million, 40,000 sq ft specialist science centre for small and growing businesses within the life sciences sector. The balance of funding will be provided by park owners, MEPC. The new facility will be called the Milton Science Centre (MSc).

As part of today's announcement, Ed Vaizey Government Minister and Local MP visited Milton Park to deliver the good news and meet representatives from some of the 50 strong life sciences businesses already based at Milton Park.

Ed Vaizey was also shown around the laboratories of Immunocore, a privately owned, clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel biological drugs to treat cancer and viral disease and a great example of a successful Oxfordshire Life Science Business. Ed Vaizey added: “Today’s announcement underlines this government's strong commitment to the UK life sciences sector. It will also lead to a significant step in the development of the Oxfordshire cluster. Milton Park is one of the top performing enterprise zones across the country and, with its new Local Development Order simplifying planning and track record of success, I have every confidence that this project will be delivered quickly and help produce many more great life sciences businesses like Immunocore.”

James Dipple, Managing Director of Milton Park, explains, " This announcement is great news for Oxfordshire, as it will further strengthen the county's highly successful life sciences cluster. The Government's contribution will help us build on the great environment we already have here and provide these small and growing life sciences businesses with the specialist accommodation they really need. This is the culmination of a county wide team effort across the public and private sectors and I am grateful to all those who helped to support the bid. A special thanks must go to the District and County Councils, the Local Enterprise Partnership and OBN. I must also say a big thank you to our local MP Ed Vaizey. Public-private partnerships such as this, with business investing alongside Government, create opportunities for local employment, national success and healthcare advances which will be used around the world."

During the last six months, Immunocore has entered into major partnerships with leading pharmaceutical companies, Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline and MedImmune, part of AstraZeneca, and has doubled in size to nearly 100 staff.

Eva-Lotta Allan, Chief Business Officer at Immunocore, commented: "We welcome the Government's decision to work in partnership with Milton Park to enhance the life science infrastructure within the Science Vale Enterprise Zone. Adding a dedicated hub for innovation to the existing facilities here, will help to ensure we continue to attract the best scientists as we progress the development of new treatments that could help many thousands of cancer patients."

Immunocore is one of the ten fastest growing life science companies based on Milton Park, featured in a publication launched by OBN earlier this month. The book, titled ‘An Evolution: The Story of Milton Park Life Sciences Cluster’, celebrates the life sciences cluster at Milton Park and includes interviews from senior personnel from each company.

Jon Rees, CEO of OBN, adds, “We were delighted to support this bid. The new facility will address a limiting step in Oxfordshire life sciences cluster and is exactly what it needs. The provision of wet labs for start-ups is the obvious next stage of evolution for the Milton Park life science cluster. ”

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