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Public Health England and Imperial Innovations boost UK life sciences sector

Published on 14/07/15 at 04:36pm
Public Health England

The Government has signed-off on the transfer of Public Health England’s drug development and production arm into a state-owned biopharma company.

Te new company, Porton Biopharma Limited (PBL), will employ over 200 people at the site in Porton, near Salisbury, which will be developed to support further business. 

The future success and revenue growth of PBL, which will be owned by the Secraty of State for Health Jemery Hunt, will provide Public Health England with much-needed revenue - the company earned over £44m in 2014 - which will be ploughed back into public health.

Dr Roger Hinton, managing director of Porton Biopharma, says: “This is exciting news for our customers and staff and will allow the business to grow at the Porton site. Having our independence means that we can really focus on developing our life saving products and services worldwide

“Working as part of Public Health England, and prior to that in the Health Protection Agency, has enabled us to go through all the early stages of our development in a carefully managed and controlled manner.

“Now as a stand-alone company we can better compete in the biopharmaceutical market and shape our own future, pursue more opportunities and more rapidly respond to changes in global drug markets.”

Drug development and production has been taking place at the site since this 1970. Porton Biopharma manufactures the leukaemia drug Erwinase as well as the only UK licensed Anthrax vaccine.

Chairman Martin Hindle says: “The ambition, capability and expertise in the company is second to none. I feel privileged to work with such a dedicated group of people working to the benefit of patients and the wider economy.”

The emerging trend currently is a nod to the popularity of the spin-outs that many organisations are part taking in to strengthen investment.

This week Imperial Innovations Group, a spin-out from scientific and medical research at Imperial College London, secured a £50million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to support investment in the UK biotech and life science sector.

The new loan will be used to support equity investment in life science spin-off companies and follows the successful investment of a £30 million EIB loan agreed two years ago.

Jonathan Taylor, European investment bank vice president, says: “Investment in knowledge driven and highly skilled sectors is crucial to strengthen Europe’s long-term global competitiveness. The EIB is committed to supporting investment that harnesses research to create skilled jobs and commercial success. Imperial Innovations has set a benchmark for transforming cutting-edge research into some of the UK’s most exciting early-stage biotech and medtech companies.”

This additional funding from the EIB will enable Imperial Innovations to increase the rate and scale of its investment in both existing and new portfolio companies, in particular in the therapeutics and medtech sectors.

Yasmita Kumar


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