LaBiotech Tour UK is our fifth documentary tour. We arrived in London on Tuesday, February 24th and drove through Stevenage, Cambridge, Oxford, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh. We lived a unique experience that we would like to share with you. A foretaste before the release of the video documentary 😉
Day 1: Ready, Set, Go!
In the early morning, we took off from Berlin to London Luton. Just after landing, we rented a car (a French one) and moved to Stevenage to interview three great Biotech companies: Puridify, Plasticell, and Magdi. They are all based in the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, incubator located in GSK’s biological research facility. We couldn’t go to bed without the British classic: a nice traditional Fish and chips.
Day 2: London, The City
Second day of our trip. We left Luton for London to meet the queen of Biotech. Unfortunately, she was not available that day, so we decided to visit a great bioinformatic startup Desktop Genetics. We then moved to Biomoti, a therapeutic Biotech located inside the Queen Mary BioEntreprises Center and the Blizzard institute. Our day finished at MedCity, where we got a better overview of London’s Biotech ecosystem and understanding of how it fits into the UK’s Biotech ecosystem.
Day 3: Oxford, The College City
Oxford is not only a famous and prestigious academic city but also the oldest University of England. As part of the Golden Triangle, the city is a strong hotspot for Biotechs within the UK. Last year, the Oxford-based company Circassia raised £200M during its IPO, the largest amount fundraised in biotech in Europe in 2014. We didn’t meet Circassia, but two other companies: Karus Therapeutics which develops small molecules against cancer and inflammatory diseases and Brainomix, a software company which found a solution to improve clinical diagnosis of stroke damages in the brain. After a nice pint of Pale Ale in the Eagle and Child (where Tolkien and Lewis Caroll used to come), we got a little shut-eye before addressing an intense but exciting day of interviewing companies in Cambridge.
Day 3: Cambridge, The Super-Biocluster
Our first week ended in Cambridge. It is well known for its prestigious university but also for its biocluster, the so-called super-biocluster. It is the biggest of its kind in the UK, on top of being one of the leading clusters in Europe. We had a very intense programme with 5 companies to visit including the two largest ones: Abcam and Horizon discovery. Everything went smoothly and we finished at the pub The Eagle to drink a pint. It is well-known for having hosted the discussion between Watson and Crick regarding the discovery of the DNA double-helix structure. A perfect way to conclude our first week in the UK and to start a well deserved relaxing weekend!
5th day: Manchester and Birmingham in one day!
We began our second week in Birmingham and Manchester. After a little snow storm we visited the BioHub of Birmingham, where two startups pitched their innovation to us. Then we visited the impressive building of The Binding Site and moved to Manchester to meet Premaitha. Let’s move on to Scotland now!
Day 6: Stunning landscapes …
We started our day in Manchester and then went on our way up north to Glasgow. On our way, we drove through the National Park of Lake District which is simply breathtaking (and we were really lucky with the weather)! With all the fresh air and these nice shots, we then finished our day at Tissue Solutions in Glasgow, a Biotech company based in the middle of the city’s science park.
Day 7: Amazing final step: Edinburgh
The last step of the Tour took us to Edinburgh. We woke up to bright sunshine and decided to walk through the city, which is absolutely wonderful. We then headed to the VC-fund Epidarex before meeting our last company Synpromics in Edinburgh bioQuarter, the biocluster of the city.
Again, we would like to thank everyone who helped us and all the companies for warmly welcoming us. Now, we are back in Berlin and are already working with our film editor Paul. So stay tuned ! the Tour video will be up and loaded in no time 😉