Newly opened Oxford Brookes Enterprise Centre will boost biotech, digital and business innovation across Oxfordshire
The new Oxford Brookes Enterprise Centre, created to provide lab space, office space and access to academic and technical expertise to start-ups, spin-outs and small businesses in the biotech and digital sectors opened yesterday (29 September) at the University’s Headington Campus. Funded by Oxford Brookes University and backed with major Local Growth Fund-investment secured by OxLEP, the Enterprise Centre aims to support the creation of more than 15 start-up companies and around 70 jobs.
Experts from the Oxford Brookes research community and from resident biotech start-ups will be available to help and mentor people using the Enterprise Centre, to give fledgling companies an extra boost. Being able to access technical expertise and mentoring has been of great benefit to Coding Bio, one of the centre’s start-up companies.
Coding Bio uses an AI-first approach to design new CARs (Chimeric Antigen Receptors) to revolutionise cell therapy. Starting as a team of two in 2021, they have now expanded to seven people, including a recent Oxford Brookes graduate, Maria-Alexa Cosma, who said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for me to begin my career at the cutting edge of research. We’re literally designing technology for the future. We’re using artificial intelligence to design cancer therapies that we can then manufacture in the lab.”
Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, said: “I am delighted that we’re opening this centre today, which is part of our new Directorate for Research, Innovation and Enterprise.
“It will be wonderful to see how it will help associated research, business and professional support networks to deepen collaboration and accelerate the commercialisation of new ideas. I am particularly pleased that the centre is funding internships for our students and that students will be going on to work for those companies after graduation.”
The centre currently hosts five biotech start-ups: Coding Bio, Oxford Target Therapeutics, an Oxford Brookes spinout company launched earlier this year, Sun Bear Bioworks, MetaGuideX and Oxford Expression Technologies.
“The creation of the new Oxford Brookes Enterprise Centre is going to incentivise new business in the Thames Valley, enabling the wealth of talent already present in the region to take ambitious steps and utilise the support and expertise provided by the Oxford Brookes research community to establish themselves and grow.”
Paul Britton CEO
Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce
The opening of the Enterprise Centre was attended by local and national industry leaders as well as local councillors and MPs, including Anneliese Dodds, Member of Parliament for Oxford East.
Industry leaders included Anna Valiani, Director Enterprise and Sustainability at the Royal Academy of Engineers and Katy Gearing, Head of Industry Engagement at the Royal Society.