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US firm AskBio invests in Scots genetics research

Research will be undertaken in Edinburgh

Life sciences company AskBio has received backing for new research into genetic diseases at its Edinburgh-based laboratories.

A £3.4m commitment from the US-based company is being topped up with a near-£2 million grant from Scottish Enterprise.

Gene therapy has the potential to treat a wide range of diseases including certain forms of muscular dystrophy, congestive heart failure and some diseases of the central nervous system but, at present, only two market-approved therapies are available.

AskBio Europe (previously Synpromics), based in North Carolina, has been closely supported by Scottish Enterprise throughout the company’s lifetime and the latest grant will enable the initial creation of 11 high-value jobs at its European HQ in Edinburgh.

Dr. David Venables, president of AskBio Europe, said: “Scottish Enterprise has played a significant role in funding the development of our technology.

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“This grant will allow us to undertake important research into the scalability of gene therapy manufacturing to help bring potentially transformative therapies to more patients.”

Innovation Minister, Ivan McKee, said: “This funding will support AskBio’s research into improving the treatment of genetic diseases, something that could be life-changing for patients.

“It will also create new and highly skilled job opportunities at the company’s research and development facilities in Edinburgh.”

Nick Shields, head of business support services at Scottish Enterprise, said: “We have supported Synpromics, now AskBio Europe, for a number of years and have been pleased to witness its growth as well as the progress of its innovative technology towards helping patients worldwide.

“It is therefore great to see the company taking on this huge challenge on behalf of the global pharmaceutical industry, which could lead to the development of life-changing therapies for so many.”



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