Biotech plan

SE-backed spin-out to market chronic disease treatment

Stephen Yarwood: building a company of scale

A breakthrough treatment for a chronic illness will be taken to market after being backed by a Scottish Enterprise growth initiative.

Researchers at Heriot-Watt University and the University of Texas Medical Branch intend to commercialise the results of their research into inflammatory diseases and fibrosis.

Heriot-Watt scientist Stephen Yarwood said that receiving funding from Scottish Enterprise’s High Growth Spinout Programme would transform their years of developing a treatment.

“We intend to build a biotechnology company of significant scale and ambition. Support of this nature is essential to help academics like us to commercialise our research,” he said.

Victoria Carmichael, director of strategic investments at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Our High Growth Spinout Programme was established specifically to help commercialise ground-breaking research conducted by Scotland’s universities.”

The funding will be used for further development of the treatments and has also allowed the team to recruit commercial expertise. Industry veteran Chris Wardhaugh will act as a CEO-Designate for the project.

Paul Devlin, head of commercialisation at Heriot-Watt University, commented: “This funding will help accelerate the impact of academic discovery on the daily lives of people affected by a wide range of life-changing and life-limiting diseases.

“With Heriot-Watt’s expertise in delivering commercial, strategic and innovation support, coupled with the financial backing of Scottish Enterprise, we look forward to growing this research into an exciting, profitable, world-class business.”

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