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Bit Bio lease means BioMed@Babraham is full after only 12 months

Human synthetic biology pioneer Bit Bio has signed a 10-year lease at BioMed@Babraham, meaning the entire development has been leased within a year.

Bit Bio will take 25,000 square feet of space at the Babraham Research Campus site.

BioMed@Babraham Picture: Simon Punter
BioMed@Babraham Picture: Simon Punter

The company, which has raised a total of $50million after closing a $41.5million Series A investment in June, was founded as Elpis Biomed in 2016 by neurosurgeon Dr Mark Kotter.

Bit Bio’s aim is to generate every cell type of the human body. Its proprietary platform technology, opti-ox, enables precise reprogramming of stem cells into specialised cells, such as those liver, brain or immune cells that can be used for research.

It is working on cell therapy for cancer patients and diseases affecting the central nervous and immune systems.

Bit Bio, which had been based within Abcam’s new HQ on Cambridge Biomedical Campus, joins the likes of drug discovery and development companies Mission Therapeutics, which announced earlier this month that it had closed a £12m funding round, and RxCelerate, along with liquid biopsy specialist Inivata at the site.

The Bit Bio team in the Abcam building, prior to lockdown. Picture: Keith Heppell
The Bit Bio team in the Abcam building, prior to lockdown. Picture: Keith Heppell

But the first business to take up occupancy at BioMed Realty was PetMedix, the fast-growing biotherapeutics firm that spun out of the laboratory of Professor Allan Bradley to focus on antibody research and development for dogs and cats.

While antibody therapeutics have been transformative in human medicine, helping to treat diseases from cancers to autoimmune diseases, they are just starting to be developed for veterinary applications. PetMedix raised £8m in series A funding last year and recently secured equity investment from Cambridge Innovation Capital.

As part of PetMedix’s move to occupy the site, laboratory equipment that was not required was donated to the NHS for use in Covid-19 research, including four laminar flow cabinets suitable for tissue culture.

Dr Tom Weaver, PetMedix CEO, said: “We’re delighted to have new, state-of-the-art premises within such a fantastic community that will benefit our staff both professionally and socially. As our company scales, it will be from this site that PetMedix will continue to innovate and develop novel antibody therapeutics for the companion animal market.

“The Babraham Research Campus has shown great foresight in creating facilities which we believe can play a key role in helping other spin-outs quickly scale up. We are a science-led company, but it is our people that make us who we are.

“We have some ambitious plans and this move will help us maintain our trajectory of strong growth.”

BioMed@Babraham is now fully let. Picture: Richard Marsham
BioMed@Babraham is now fully let. Picture: Richard Marsham

Launched in 2017, BioMed@Babraham was developed by BioMed Realty and offers 100,000 square feet of fully-fitted lab and office space, operated in collaboration with Babraham Research Campus.

Designed to support scale-ups, it features pre-installed lab benches, fume hoods, vacuum and gas lines and Trespa shelving.

It forms part of a million square feet of lab space owned by BioMed across the Cambridge ecosystem, and 13.6 million square feet of life science and technology space that the real estate company operates worldwide, including for firms such as AstraZeneca and Gilead..

Matt Smith, director, UK market, for BioMed Realty, said: “The life sciences industry makes a huge contribution to the U.K. economy, supporting thousands of highly skilled jobs.

“With the right investment in facilities to help nurture innovation, it will provide the industry a path for growth and compete globally with knowledge clusters across the US, Europe and Asia.

One of the BioMed@Babraham buildings. Picture: Michael Cameron
One of the BioMed@Babraham buildings. Picture: Michael Cameron

“We’ve seen unprecedented demand for high quality research space and full credit must be given to Derek Jones and the Babraham Research Campus for being one of the first organisations in Britain to recognise the huge value of offering turnkey facilities to spin-outs and scale-ups.”

Derek Jones, CEO of Babraham Bioscience Technologies, which develops and manages the Babraham Research Campus, said: “We are delighted Bit Bio and PetMedix have chosen to make the campus their home. They will benefit from being part of the wider campus community of 60 innovative commercial organisations, as well as co-location with world leading research at the Babraham Institute.

“Our supportive and highly networked community shares a common objective; to make a positive contribution to the world’s health and we welcome both companies’ presence and contribution to that aim.”

Cheffins advised BioMed Realty on the latest deal.

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