LifeArc is the new name for MRC Technology. We are a medical research charity with a 25-year legacy of helping scientists and academic organisations turn their research into treatments and diagnostics for patients. As a charity, we aim to find new ways to progress medical science so patients can benefit from breakthroughs and advances in medical research.
Dr Michael Dalrymple, Executive Director of Diagnostics and Science Foresight, LifeArc:
Your business in brief?
We have our own laboratories, but collaboration is essential for our work to tackle specific diseases. We recently announced a focus on antimicrobials, neuroscience, personalised oncology and respiratory projects. So far, LifeArc’s work has helped to develop four drugs: Keytruda® (treating various cancers), Actemra® (rheumatoid arthritis), Tysabri® (multiple sclerosis) and Entyvio® (ulcerative colitis / Crohn's) and a test for antimicrobial resistance. We have the diagnostics development laboratory in Edinburgh, drug discovery labs in Stevenage and a London office where our technology transfer, licensing, therapeutics review and other business functions are based.
What does the Centre for Diagnostics Development do?
The Centre for Diagnostics Development works to improve the commercial readiness of early stage diagnostics from academic research. We helped to develop a test to diagnose antibacterial resistance, which is marketed by Bruker. Public Health England states one in three patients in English hospitals are on an antibiotic drug and the number of deaths from antibiotic resistant bacteria is increasing. Current tests for carbapenemase genes, which are associated with antibiotic resistance, can take up to 48 hours. This test provides a result within 6 hours, so patients can start on the right course of antibiotics a lot sooner.
Why relocate to Edinburgh BioQuarter?
We were previously based at the Scottish Health Service Conference Centre. Increasing collaborations with industry, academia and the NHS has prompted the need for increased laboratory and office space, and we moved to our current site at Nine, Edinburgh BioQuarter in May 2017.
The move is part of our investment of over £7million over the next five years to further our diagnostics development work.
We selected Nine to foster new collaborations. It’s close to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and medical researchers, and next to a thriving community of small and medium business. The laboratories were purpose-built for us and the office space fitted out to our specification. Our relocation was supported by local companies PMP (project management), Form (design consultants) and RSP (consulting engineers).
What's the vision for this part of your business?
The future of healthcare will see a convergence of diagnosis and therapy, so-called ‘precision medicine’. Growing diagnostics capability is a core part of LifeArc’s new five-year strategy. The move to the BioQuarter enables us to grow our team to increase the flow of diagnostic project collaborations through our labs. If you would like to find out more about how we can help you and your business establish, relocate or expand within the city region, or would simply like more information about what Edinburgh has to offer, get in touch today.