UCB invests in UK with cutting-edge robotics

Belgium-based biopharma UCB has selected the UK for the home of a £3.3 million investment in innovative robotics, designed by British experts, to automate antibody discovery.

The technology enables a highly automated process for four major steps – the generation, selection, production and evaluation – in the development of new human antibody-based medicines.

The announcement today, Wednesday, has been cited by prime minister David Cameron among new examples of investment into UK pharmaceuticals, announced as he hosts the G8 summit on dementia in London.

“Coupling our scientists’ know-how and innovation with smart automation,” UCB said in a statement, “should shorten development life cycles and improve clinical success rates.”
“Some 40% of UCB’s total global research spend takes place in the UK. We choose to invest in this country because of the calibre of UK scientists, as well as the Government’s commitment to life sciences funding.
“This pioneering new robotic technology marks a significant step forward in our ability to develop exciting novel and effective treatments.”
Dr Neil Weir, Senior Vice President of Discovery, UCB and Chair of the ABPI Innovation Board

The cutting-edge technological investment in the UK from UCB comes as investment of large monetary value has also been announced today by GlaxoSmithKline, which will invest a further £200 million in the country. The pharma giant says the money will create an innovative new manufacturing centre and that the investment was enabled by UK tax breaks dubbed the “patent box”.

Mr Cameron will claim at the G8 summit that Britain’s strategy against dementia has attracted £2 billion in private sector investment for the UK’s life sciences.

See the G8 dementia summit website at http://dementiachallenge.dh.gov.uk.

Yesterday also brought news of investment in UK science – see our story J&J nestles into five UK ‘excellence’ cities


Related news:

UK researchers urged to lead world (London Evening Standard)

“Patent box” encourages GSK to invest $330 million more in UK (Reuters)

Reference links:

G8 dementia: PM calls for UK to lead world in research (UK government press release)

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