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Edinburgh BioQuarter is Europe's fastest-growing academic medical centre – bringing together scientists from the University of Edinburgh and NHS Lothian with commercial research companies to accelerate the development of new drugs, diagnostic tools and medical devices to treat diseases.

From 'bench to bedside', BioQuarter is the location of choice for global life sciences companies, major strategic alliances with the bio-phamaceutical industry, and for new life science companies looking to grow.

Translating medical innovation

From the introduction of chloroform in surgery in the 19th century to the development of the world’s first commercially available multi-articulated prosthetic hand in the 21st, Scotland has always been at the forefront of medical science. This quest for innovation continues today thanks to the work of Edinburgh BioQuarter.

This huge enterprise has made Edinburgh a leading European destination for translational medical research – fast-tracking drug development from the lab to patient.

When the University of Edinburgh joined forces with Scottish Enterprise and NHS Lothian to create the Edinburgh BioQuarter, they identified three aims for the new organisation to: 

  • Foster deeper links with industry through collaborative research
  • Create new companies based on Edinburgh’s research base
  • Encourage a culture of commercialisation in the NHS and among academic researchers

A highly skilled and experienced commercial team was set up to deliver these aims and in just over three years the team has already spun out seven new life sciences businesses. 

New companies include:

  • Edinburgh Molecular Imaging, who are working to speed up the diagnosis of lung diseases
  • i2eye Diagnostics - developers of the world’s first visual field analyser for children
  • Insulin pump cover supplies ipSOX
  • Aquila BioMedical - a pre-clinical contract research organisation for certain nervous system and neurological disorders

We've also helped deliver a number of new collaborations with international bio-pharmaceutical companies. 

Related links

In addition to the agreements signed with UK-based GlaxoSmithKline and Belgium-based Galapagos, collaborations are also in place with the Crack-it consortium, led by Johnson & Johnson (UK). Scots researchers have teamed with Eli Lilly (US) as well as Galecto Biotech AB (Sweden) on a research programme for fibrosis treatments.

We also support the annual BioQuarter Innovation Competition which was launched in 2011 to generate new ideas for products and services that benefit human health. The competition has already produced more than 100 new product or business concepts.

Support at Nine, business incubator centre

A key part of BioQuarter's strategy to translate research into patient benefit is its business incubator centre, 'Nine', on the BioQuarter campus, which opened in 2012. It offers office and incubator space for both newly formed companies and established leaders in the bio-pharmaceutical industry seeking close proximity to the research assets at BioQuarter. 

Nine is now home to 13 companies and that number is set to grow as the research community at the BioQuarter continues to expand.

Over the next five years BioQuarter expects to be home to more than 2,000 researchers, working in areas such as stem cell therapy at the Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine, and on new therapies for MS and related conditions at the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic. 

The work at BioQuarter is creating a pulse of innovation, collaboration and commercialisation within Edinburgh that will deliver benefits to patients around the world as well as continue the legacy left by the long list of medical pioneers who have put Scotland at the forefront medical science.

More about life sciences in Scotland