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Experts from BioCity Scotland and the University of Dundee have secured £100 million investment from the European Innovative Medicines Initiative to lead on a major European-wide drug discovery project.

In Feb 2013, Lanarkshire's BioCity Scotland teamed up with the University of Dundee to win a major Europe-wide drug discovery contract.

Scientists and researchers will work on a £100 million international project - The European Lead Factory - researching new drug treatments. The European Lead Factory will offer a radical new approach to identifying new pharmaceuticals for some of the world's most challenging diseases.

The project, secured for Scotland with our backing, is the largest Scottish investment of its kind from the European Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI).

Lena Wilson, Scottish Enterprise's chief executive, said:

"We worked closely with our partners to support the preparation of the bid for this new facility, which further secures the future of BioCity Scotland as a hub of life sciences in Europe.

"It's testament to the increasing global reputation of our Scottish life sciences sector that Scotland has been successful in such a fiercely competitive scientific contest, and further builds on our life sciences industry as the ideal partner of choice in major international projects."

We worked with the Scottish Government and the Scottish Funding Council to support BioCity Scotland and Dundee University.

Welcoming the investment Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond said:

"BioCity Scotland, SULSA and Dundee University have succeeded in bringing a huge and valuable piece of work to Scotland, against international competition.

"In particular, this deal shows the combined strength of our universities and commercial experts. Working together, they have been able to secure the biggest ever IMI contract of its kind in Scotland, putting Lanarkshire and Dundee at the forefront of drug discovery in Europe for many years to come.

"This announcement reinforces Scotland’s international reputation as a nation at the forefront of scientific breakthroughs and promotes the life sciences sector as central to continued economic growth in Scotland."

The European IMI will invest £16.3 million with £3.5 million from the Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Governement. An additional £75 million of proprietary drug compounds from pharmaceutical companies for use on the project will be stored at BioCity Scotland.

BioCity Scotland will be the Scottish Screening Centre for a team of 30 international partners. Working with the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA), the University of Dundee will place a team of drug discovery scientists at BioCity Scotland to conduct screening and medicinal chemistry activities for the project.

Michel Goldman, executive director of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), said:

"The European Lead Factory brings together partners from industry, academia and small companies right across Europe.

"BioCity Scotland’s expertise in managing the storage and logistics of large compound collections mean it will make a vital contribution to this exciting new project that will help to speed up the development of novel medicines for patients."