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Constructive Bio’s showcase HQ at The Recodery is formally opened





Constructive Bio opened its new premises at The Recodery in Whittlesford last week, and reaffirmed its mission to putting synthetic biology to work to create new genomic medicine treatments to realise “the therapies of the future”.

Constructive Bio launched in 2022 with £12.4m seed investment to scale and commercialise Prof Jason Chin’s groundbreaking synthetic biology research at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge.

Ola Wlodek, CEO at Constructive Bio, speaking at The Recodery opening event, November 23, 2023. Picture: So-Motive
Ola Wlodek, CEO at Constructive Bio, speaking at The Recodery opening event, November 23, 2023. Picture: So-Motive

Based on Prof Chin’s work, the biotechnology company is pioneering approaches for building entirely synthetic genomes and for reprogramming the genetic code of living organisms for programmable biomolecule synthesis. Its platform technologies have created virus-resistant organisms, and “are turning living cells into sustainable bio factories to realise the sustainable materials and therapies of the future”.

From a 2,000 sq ft workspace on Chesterford Research Park, the now 30-person business – with Prof Chin as chief scientific officer – occupies an 11,000 sq ft mix of labs and offices near Whittlesford station.

The site, which is also home to Alchemab Therapeutics, was refurbished by real estate developer and investor Gen Two – and Constructive Bio’s CEO Ola Wlodek paid tribute to the Gen Two team in her speech at the opening day last week.

The opening of The Recodery at Lion Works, Station Road, Whittlesford. Picture: Keith Heppell
The opening of The Recodery at Lion Works, Station Road, Whittlesford. Picture: Keith Heppell

“We are Constructive Bio, a spinout from Jason Chin’s laboratory, and we are very excited to be here,” said Ola, adding (to laughs), “and also the public transport links here are fantastic.”

The company is building “programmable chemistries for treatments of the future” and Ola paid tribute to investors including Ahren, Amadeus Capital Partners, OMX Ventures and General Inception.

The offcial opening of The Recodery at Lion Works, Station Road, Whittlesford, from left Daniel de la Torre, Paul Wallace, Ola Wlodek, Jason Chin, Ana Bernardo-Gancedo, Ed Fitzwilliams, Daniel Sterling and Ariel Levy. Picture: Keith Heppell
The offcial opening of The Recodery at Lion Works, Station Road, Whittlesford, from left Daniel de la Torre, Paul Wallace, Ola Wlodek, Jason Chin, Ana Bernardo-Gancedo, Ed Fitzwilliams, Daniel Sterling and Ariel Levy. Picture: Keith Heppell

“It was a very smooth procedure to move here,” Ola continued from the first floor of The Recodery.

Making it our home was a big task. Ariel and Daniel of Gen Two turned this from something pretty” – Ola paused before continuing to laughter – “horrific to what it is today. It’s difficult to get an 11,000 sq ft facility right for a scale-up, and we’re very proud and very grateful to be here.”

Ola then handed over to Prof Chin who said that Constructive Bio is operating in a $4trn market and noted: “We’re writing biology in its natural language, that is DNA, and our platform technology allows us to write DNA rapidly in parallel and at scale, and is generating organisms which turn living cells into renewable sustainable factories for the discovery of new molecules, new polymers and new materials.

“The work is based on the fundamental science at the LMB, and many of my colleagues are here now. One year ago this was a rather sad electronics warehouse and I want to congratulate the Gen Two team for their vision which, I have to say, wasn’t obvious at first.

The opening of The Recodery at Lion Works, Station Road, Whittlesford. Picture: Keith Heppell
The opening of The Recodery at Lion Works, Station Road, Whittlesford. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Here at The Recodery we will be writing biology for cells that are renewable and sustainable for the Cambridge ecosystem and the economy that will deliver a fraction of the $4trn value we think we can get out of the engineering biology paradigm.”

Gen Two Real Estate was founded by Ariel Levy and Daniel Sterling in 2021 as a specialist in the creation of life science laboratories and workspaces in Cambridge.

“We initially worked on commercial redevelopments and residential properties,” said Ariel, who studied land economy at St John’s in Cambridge, “before moving into the science and innovation space.”

Of the Whittlesford project, he said: “We set out to deliver a future-proofed lab scheme which is fit for purpose at The Recodery.

Prof Jason Chin speaking at The Recodery for the opening of the new Constructive Bio HQ. Picture: So-Motive
Prof Jason Chin speaking at The Recodery for the opening of the new Constructive Bio HQ. Picture: So-Motive

“We had designed it to a specification before Constructive Bio took the space and then we adapted it for them. We had the basic spec but for instance they wanted open glass storage cabinets and two ducted fume cupboards, plus a power upgrade. The benching was all built for purpose – so all the fridges fit neatly underneath.”

Ola Wlodek, CEO of Constructive Bio, added: “It is with a mindset of commitment to excellence that I must acknowledge the exemplary dedication and customer service that has characterised our recent collaboration with Gen Two.

“The meticulous attention to detail and superior quality of work under the Gen Two lead have made a lasting impression on me. Gen Two’s expertise in developing properties specifically for the life sciences is not just commendable; it is a clear indication of their visionary approach to creating spaces that catalyse innovation and progress.

“I extend my profound gratitude to Gen Two, who I regard not simply as property developers, but as architects of the future for life sciences infrastructure.”

Daniel told the Cambridge Independent after the speeches: “This project marks an important proof of concept for us.

The opening of The Recodery at Lion Works, Station Road, Whittlesford. Picture: Keith Heppell
The opening of The Recodery at Lion Works, Station Road, Whittlesford. Picture: Keith Heppell

“We see a real opportunity to build out specialist environments for the sector that will support the growth ambitions of some of the UK’s most exciting life sciences companies, such as Constructive Bio at The Recodery.

“It has been really important for us as a business to work closely with Constructive Bio to understand the exact science that will be taking place on site to ensure the space functions to its best ability.”

Gen Two has also been granted planning permission for the development of a new 125,000 sq ft next-generation life sciences hub in Cambridge following a unanimous consent decision by South Cambridgeshire District Council.

Constructive Bio ribbon cutting ceremony at The Recodery, November 23, 2023. Picture: So-Motive
Constructive Bio ribbon cutting ceremony at The Recodery, November 23, 2023. Picture: So-Motive

Gen Two is aiming to commence construction at ‘Alchemy’ in the first half of 2024, with a view to delivering specialist life sciences R&D facilities in 2025, creating eight self-contained laboratory suites, ranging in size from 10,000 sq ft to 20,000 sq ft, which can be combined to provide larger headquarter facilities.

Daniel Sterling said: “We’re focused on delivering world-class laboratories and workspace for our country’s brightest biotech businesses.”



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