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Programme

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst

Infrastructure

Impact for scaleups

92

Hosted companies - 67 physical and 27 virtual leases

50%

Expected employee growth in the next 18 months

£3bn+

investment in SBC based companies

6 months

acceleration of research on average

9 months

Quicker time to market

Key sectors

Life Sciences & Biotech

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC) was formed through a collaboration between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), GlaxoSmithKline, Wellcome and Innovate UK. Closely  connected with ecosystems in London and Cambridge, it aims to support a globally recognised and vibrant hub that brings together academics, biotech and pharma organisations in a spirit of collaboration and partnership.  In 2023, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, in collaboration with Forge, announced that it will expand to become one of Europe’s largest Life Science campuses. The development includes the largest cluster of cell and gene therapy companies outside of the USA.

The campus supports resident companies to grow and scale at pace. Lab and office space is provided along with scientific and business expertise. This includes access to peer networks, mentoring, funding, expertise, scientific equipment and facilities to enable businesses to scale and innovate.

Scaleups are supported to overcome key challenges including access to talent, markets and finance and have access to specialist facilities and equipment, including a dedicated Catapult onsite training lab. The ‘DATA accelerator’ programme fosters leadership, equips scaleup leaders with business and commercial skills and connects scaleups with investors. In the most recent cohort, each scaleup in the accelerator programme was connected to 38 industry leading experts and, on average, the participating scaleups followed up with private conversations with up to four experts. In addition, SBC’s dedicated Entrepreneurship and Business Development Director facilitates introductions to grant funding, investors and venture capitalists.  

Flexible infrastructure is key to SBC’s offer. Campus-based Lab Hotel offers laboratory space to eight scaleups a year. Around 70% of the companies that have been through the Lab Hotel have then continued to take lab space at SBC. Around 45 companies have access to the Cytiva tech lab and the campus’ New Spark building creates space for 100 jobs.

Its newly announced Life Sciences hub – the Elevate Quarter – will run alongside GSK’s existing global R&D facility and the wider SBC ecosystem. A partnership between UBS Asset Management and Reef Group, the new 1.6 million square foot campus will include office and lab space as well as Good Manufacturing Practices facilities and will create up to 5,000 new jobs. Construction is scheduled to start later this year. 

Since opening in 2012, SBC has hosted a total of 92 scaling companies, 65 with occupational leases and a further 27 with virtual leases, while 3 companies have established offices in the US. In 2023, 884 jobs were created by SBC companies which also expect to increase employment by an average of 50% in the next 18 months. Companies  also reported that being based at SBC meant that product development was on average nine months faster and research accelerated by six months.

There remains a strong focus on the talent pipeline and there are around 13 active apprenticeships in addition to 12 with GSK. SBC’s Generation Stevanage initiative and summer school promote apprenticeships, training and career opportunties; while the campus-based medical research charity LifeArc supports sandwich placements for students aged 10-12 year-long and 10-15 PhD CASE students.

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst website