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New Science Park in Scotland May Lure Bioinformatics Companies As Tenants

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EDINBURGH--The Moredun Foundation and the Roslin Institute have opened Edinburgh BioParks, a new science park here that offers health and pharmaceutical companies, including bioinformatics firms, business support and access to research. Jennie Liddell, business development manager, said the facility is the first science park in the UK to offer tenants business and technical support.

Roslin is the biotech research firm that recently made international news by cloning Dolly the sheep. Moredun specializes in pharmaceutical contract and animal health research. The two facilities, located within two miles of each other, conceptualized BioParks to help develop their research sites. The two organizations hope to commercialize the technologies they're developing while building up the center along the lines of Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, Liddell said. An 85,000-square-foot center being built on the 150-acre site is expected to be finished next year. Companies that have located to the center so far are housed in Moredun and Roslin's existing buildings.

Among the 10 companies that have opened offices at the center so far are PPL Therapeutics, Cogent Diagnostics, and Viragen, Liddell added. The center would like to sign up bioinformatics companies as well, but so far none has joined, she said. At least 30 firms will eventually be accommodated, according to Liddell.

Companies opening offices at Edinburgh BioParks are provided with scientific expertise in a number of fields, including genome mapping, nuclear transfer, transgenics, disease challenge models, immunological systems, and vaccine research. Suites from 600 to 20,000 square feet are available. Ian Leslie serves as chief executive of the new enterprise. He previously worked at several other biotech companies, including Scottish Enterprise and Inversk Research. Financial support for the science park came from the European Regional Development Fund and Lothian and Edinburgh Enterprise, a local development agency.

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