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Source BioScience and Thackray prove they have the winning formula for life sciences





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At the opening of Source BioScience’s Cambridge Genomics and Precision Medicine facility in Histon are, from left Tony Ratcliffe CFO, Klaudyna Johnstone, marketing director, Richard Stevens, director of genomics, Dave Negus, group sequencing director, and Jay LeCoque, chairman and CEO. Picture: Keith Heppell
At the opening of Source BioScience’s Cambridge Genomics and Precision Medicine facility in Histon are, from left Tony Ratcliffe CFO, Klaudyna Johnstone, marketing director, Richard Stevens, director of genomics, Dave Negus, group sequencing director, and Jay LeCoque, chairman and CEO. Picture: Keith Heppell

Source BioScience worked with design, construction and fit-out specialist Thackray to create its exciting new facility – and the partnership proved to be a winning one.

The Cambridge Genomics and Precision Medicine unit opened last month at Vision Park in Histon, as reported in the Cambridge Independent.

It began as empty office space, but following a bespoke conversion – completed on time and on budget – it is now home to an array of the latest laboratory services.

Source BioScience says the site enables it to expand its offer to pharmaceutical, academic and biotech organisations.

And Thackray says the project helps to cement its growing reputation for creating state-of-the-art life science spaces.

We spoke to Source BioScience and Thackray to hear about their formula and the services they provide.

In the labs at Source BioScience’s Cambridge Genomics and Precision Medicine facility in Histon. Picture: Keith Heppell
In the labs at Source BioScience’s Cambridge Genomics and Precision Medicine facility in Histon. Picture: Keith Heppell

Source BioScience: The launch provides us room to grow and introduce more cutting-edge technologies

Source BioScience is a leading international provider of integrated state-of-the-art laboratory services, supporting clients in the healthcare industry, pharmaceutical sector and life science academia, with a focus on improving patient diagnosis, management and care.

Over the last 15 years, it has developed its sequencing services, growing from a small Cambridge-based laboratory to a broad network that supports life science researchers across the UK and beyond with unbeatable turnaround times.

“The vast majority are able to send us their samples and log in to check their results over breakfast the next day,” said director of genomics Richard Stevens​.

Source BioScience’s Director of genomics Richard Steven. Picture: Keith Heppell
Source BioScience’s Director of genomics Richard Steven. Picture: Keith Heppell

Now the company is accelerating its growth with the launch of its Genomics and Precision Medicine unit, which brings with it an expanded offering.

“With this investment, we enter 2023 well positioned to progress our strategy across all areas, and with a clear vision to continue building a world-class laboratory service organisation,” added Richard.

Source BioScience offers next generation sequencing (NGS) in addition to third generation sequencing technologies.

“Our existing partners are Illumina for NGS, Oxford Nanopore for long read sequencing and 10x Genomics for spatial transcriptomics, all of which enable researchers to paint a broader picture of biology and answer complex questions more completely beyond just looking at DNA alone,” explained Richard.

“The launch of the Cambridge site provides us room to grow both in terms of staffing levels, planning to create more Cambridge-based jobs as well as the introduction of new cutting-edge technologies, which we are making available to our broad range of partners.

“The most exciting development is that in line with our move to the new facility, we are now officially the UK partner for Olink – a Swedish proteomics company – and we are making their technology available to a UK base.

“Olink’s technology is exciting as it enables researchers to look at protein biomarkers, along with other omics markers.

In the labs at Source BioScience’s Cambridge Genomics and Precision Medicine facility in Histon. Picture: Keith Heppell
In the labs at Source BioScience’s Cambridge Genomics and Precision Medicine facility in Histon. Picture: Keith Heppell

“These can be used to predict response to pharmacological treatment, stratify patient populations, providing more personalised medicine approaches for a wide range of diseases, and provide insights into the biology of disease, which eventually will lead to a better understanding of tailored healthcare for various illnesses.”

It bolsters even further the offering at Source BioScience, which has become a key part of the Cambridge life science ecosystem over the last two decades, serving clients such as the University of Cambridge.

“We have a very broad service portfolio and our services are accredited under UKAS, ISO 15189 and 9001 with a dedicated quality assurance team to ensure we work to the highest standards,” said Richard.

“We also supported the Department for Health and Social Care and the UK government throughout the pandemic as one of the key Covid-19 testing laboratories.

Source BioScience’s chairman and CEO Jay LeCoque. Picture: Keith Heppell
Source BioScience’s chairman and CEO Jay LeCoque. Picture: Keith Heppell

The company’s new facility, created in close collaboration with Thackray, has proved popular already with staff.

“We are now well positioned to further support the rapidly growing life science industry in Cambridge but also nationally throughout the UK,” said Richard.

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Thackray ‘delivered a beautiful facility that our scientists are proud to work in’

Source BioScience's Cambridge Genomics and Precision Medicine unit. Picture: Andrew Wilkinson
Source BioScience's Cambridge Genomics and Precision Medicine unit. Picture: Andrew Wilkinson

When Thackray was brought in to create Source BioScience’s new site at Endeavour House on Histon’s Vision Park, an empty office space greeted them.

The company, which is finding growing demand from life science companies for its services, provides a full turnkey service for the design, construction and fit-out of such projects.

Thackray managing director Dan Wright said: “We were briefed by Source BioScience and needed to make sure it was compatible with what they wanted in terms of electrical supplies and mechanical services, as it was going to be labs.

“It was originally designed for an office environment. We adapted the air conditioning, ventilation and air handling unit on the roof to convert it for the experiments they want to do and to facilitate their needs.

“We had to make sure there were the correct number of air changes per hour – air handling units for office environments are completely different to those for laboratories.”

Source BioScience's Cambridge Genomics and Precision Medicine unit. Picture: Andrew Wilkinson
Source BioScience's Cambridge Genomics and Precision Medicine unit. Picture: Andrew Wilkinson

Prior to the 12-week build, there was a four-to-six-week design process.

“We did all the design work, working closely with Source BioScience,” explained Dan.

“We space-planned it, finding out what lab requirements were needed in terms of sinks, power, lab benching. We designed all the lab benching, the rooms and layout.”

Three quarters of the 11,255 sq ft (1,046 sq m) space is given over to labs, with the remainder in use as offices.

“There is a lab changing room downstairs and a big breakout area, with meeting pods. There is an open plan office space to create an open working environment and there are individual boardrooms,” said Dan.

“It’s a beautiful lab space and the client is over the moon.

Source BioScience's Cambridge Genomics and Precision Medicine unit. Picture: Andrew Wilkinson
Source BioScience's Cambridge Genomics and Precision Medicine unit. Picture: Andrew Wilkinson

“We’ve delivered everything they wanted and more. The client wanted to make changes on the way through, which we did.

“While on site, we also helped them to take delivery of the lab equipment, such as the fridges, and helped move them into the place.

“It was a pleasure to work with the team at Source BioScience to deliver their new laboratory and office environment.”

Source BioScience confirmed it was delighted with the result.

Its marketing director Klaudyna Johnstone​ said: “Thackray has supported us to the highest of standards.

“They have delivered a beautiful facility that our scientists are proud to work in – the work was delivered on time with excellent planning and communication throughout.”

Thackray, which also offers other commercial and residential construction services, is this week unveiling a colourful rebrand as it grows its offer.

“We are a local team with local employees and we are very competitive,” noted Dan.

Thackray has unveiled new branding, with different colours for each of its areas of work
Thackray has unveiled new branding, with different colours for each of its areas of work

“We employ about 16 members of staff, but had 25 to 30 members of staff on the Source BioScience job.

“We are now working on dilapidations on Vision Park and are working on other lab spaces at Babraham and at Granta Park.”

And Dan said clients appreciated the benefit of offering a full turnkey solution, meaning that the company can take care of all elements of a project, bringing in any required contractors to complete specific elements of the work.

“It means we can go in and deal with a job straight away,” said Dan.

And Source BioScience can attest to that.

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