Corridor Growth Fund helping to create R&D jobs and business expansion in Manchester - MIDAS

Corridor Growth Fund helping to create R&D jobs and business expansion in Manchester

The Corridor Growth Fund (CGF), a new £2 million fund launched by Manchester City Council (MCC) to support research and development related employment on the Corridor, has made four awards since launching in May, totaling £636,217 and helping to create 57.5 jobs and safeguard nine. Supported by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, the CGF provides grant funding to qualifying applicants to help underpin the private sector-led growth of the knowledge economy in this part of Manchester.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “Manchester has an incredibly strong science and research base and building on that is going to be an important element of the city’s growth. This fund should help incentivise businesses to locate in the Corridor area, attracting further jobs and investment.”

The awards were made to Retroscreen Virology, Premaitha Health, Euprotec and Cytox, all companies based at, expanding in or relocating to Manchester Science Park (MSP), taking a combined total of 14, 731s sq ft.

Retroscreen Virology Limited, a global leader in anti-viral research and the conduct of human viral challenge studies, was the first company to succeed in being awarded Corridor Growth Funding. Retroscreen achieved the maximum award of £170, 620 with its application centered on the creation of 24 jobs through expanding the company outside of London and creating a quarter of a million pound screening centre at MSP.

Selecting the Park out of a potential 15 property options, Retroscreen took 6,144 sq ft on a 15-year lease.

Paul Cooper, Commercial Director at Retrosceen, said: “Manchester has a reputation as a thriving city, which is also going through a great deal of regeneration and we feel that the strong R&D, scientific and medical infrastructure in Manchester and the surrounding area will allow us to attract and retain high quality employees to support our business expansion.

“The MSP site provided the best fit across the selection criteria; additionally the MSP team were extremely professional and helpful throughout this process, it was clear that they are an experienced and enthusiastic team with a clear development vision and a thorough understanding of R&D and the requirements for a clinical facility in this field.”

Premaitha Health is a company with a test for prenatal screening for Down’s Syndrome and other birth defects. Currently pregnant women are offered the “combined test” which is not ideal because it fails to pick up all Down’s Syndrome affected pregnancies and also incorrectly identifies many normal pregnancies as at risk, causing great concern and an unnecessary invasive test (amniocentesis) with a risk to the fetus.

The IONA test from Premaitha is much better than the existing tests because it picks up nearly all Down’s affected pregnancies with very few false positive results.

Premaitha chose to locate in Manchester, moving from Cambridge, because it is a global centre of excellence for development of new diagnostic tests and has taken 3652 sq ft of custom built R&D base and technical operations and headquarters at MSP. The company was awarded £170,000 and will create 19.5 jobs through the new site.

Stephen Little, Premaitha CEO, said: “My previous Manchester based company, DxS, was acquired by global molecular diagnostic company QIAGEN in 2009. Because of the expertise within Manchester, QIAGEN chose to expand the site at MSP, which now provides several hundred highly skilled jobs in the region. The hope and expectation is that Premaitha Health will be equally successful with a similar benefit to Manchester.

“We chose Manchester as a location for two reasons. From a commercial perspective, it is a great place for our type of business because of the high numbers of experienced scientists in the region. From a personal perspective I couldn’t think of a better city in which to live. MSP has the benefit of being in the heart of Manchester. Originally the business was based in Cambridge – the funding from the CGF was very helpful in persuading the owners of Premaitha that we should relocate it to Manchester.”

Euprotec Limited is a specialist contract research organisation (CRO) dedicated to the provision of infectious disease, respiratory and allergy biology services. Awarded £165,000, the company will use the funds to further develop and expand Euprotec’s specialist portfolio and facilities to assist in the discovery and development of new antimicrobial drugs and vaccines, creating 11 additional jobs and safeguarding nine.

Lloyd Payne, chief executive of Euprotec, said: “The Corridor Growth Fund is a very important source of financing, not only for Euprotec but also for the broader Manchester-based biomedical and knowledge community. There is an excellent pool of talent available in Manchester and the North West and, coupled with access to world-class academic and clinical centres, it makes the region an ideal location for life science-focused companies.”

The investment will enable increased leverage of Euprotec’s depth of expertise in antimicrobial drug development in order to help address the significant challenges and global health issues that have arisen as a result of antibiotic drug resistance.

Euprotec has been a well-established presence in the NW life science sector for some time now and is currently in the middle of expanding its laboratory and office facilities at MSP, where it moved to in June 2011, from 1784 sq ft to a total of 3,765 sq ft.

The final award this year has been made to Cytox Ltd, a company that expanded out of Harwell into 1170 sq ft of custom-built office and laboratory space in Manchester Science Park at the beginning of 2013. Cytox Ltd received £130, 597 for the expansion of research capabilities in its Manchester laboratory to conduct research and development of a new assay testing platform, genoTOR, that may enable physicians to identify patients who are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. The company expects to create 3 jobs with the award.

Rowena Burns, Chief Executive at MSP said: “The Corridor Growth Fund is a demonstrable indication of Manchester’s aspirations to become a true ‘Science City’ by proactively supporting the growth of R&D activity.

“The Corridor is one of only a few places in the UK with the right combination of knowledge assets that can be harnessed for any life science company serious about growth. MSP is a key part of this innovation ecosystem and we are dedicated to furthering economic growth in the city through assisting the commercialisation of knowledge. We are proud that all four companies in receipt of Corridor Growth Fund awards have been located or chosen to locate at MSP, because they know that being part of a community of like-minded businesses with dedicated to bringing great ideas to market really does make a difference.”

The Scheme, aimed predominantly at small and medium-sized enterprises, will operate from 1 April 2013 until 31 March 2015 and is expected to support the creation of at least 100 full-time jobs. The maximum grant any one applicant can receive during the three-year period is around £170, 620 (200,000 Euros.)

The Corridor is a unique business location at the heart of Manchester’s knowledge economy, covering some 243 hectares with a 58,000 strong workforce. It is home to two of the UK’s leading universities and the largest clinical academic campus in Europe.

Businesses interested in applying for grants via the Corridor Growth Fund should contact corridorgrowthfund@manchester.gov.uk

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