Three leading companies have been merged to create the country’s first nationwide life sciences ecosystem, helping the Government boost research and development (R&D) and drug discovery. The move will also help early-stage British businesses compete on a global stage.
BioCity Group, a lead accelerator and venture investor; Knowledge Factory, which manages science parks; and Trinity Investment Management, which owns Britain’s most extensive portfolio of science parks, have formed We Are Pioneer Group. The new firm will operate across 10 science parks across England, Scotland and Wales, hosting 650 high growth businesses – 10% of the country’s life sciences ecosystem.
The landmark deal has been funded by Trinity and global real estate investor firm Harrison Street, which own the underlying real estate through their existing joint venture.
Through the integration of venture development, investment, real estate and sector-specific networks, We Are Pioneer Group will create the UK’s largest life sciences ecosystem, helping to connect companies with potential partners and promoting tech transfer between universities, research institutions and the private sector.
The life sciences sector has boomed in recent years, but a lack of funding for new lab spaces is threatening future growth. The new firm directly responds to this constraint, designed to help scale businesses faster than before.
As well as providing space and shared equipment, We Are Pioneer Group’s National Accelerator Programme will amplify BioCity’s existing venture development activities and extend the reach across the UK and North America, where Harrison Street has invested more than $2.3 billion in life sciences. The new company will harness the potential within universities, NHS and healthcare networks to expedite tech transfer on an unprecedented level.
Richard O’Boyle, executive director at We Are Pioneer Group, said: “Life sciences is a truly unique part of Britain’s post-COVID recovery, but effectively managing innovation hubs requires intensive management and large networks to connect and support firms. Building meaningful links to academics, researchers, governments, and pharmaceutical firms are critical for their success. Our new company will not only invest in labs but support tech transfer and accelerator programmes, helping scale up BioCity’s ecosystem enabling Britain to really compete with North America and the Far East.”
Toby Reid, formerly boss of BioCity and now executive director at We Are Pioneer Group, said: “From the inheritance of some empty buildings, we have built and grown a company into the pre-eminent bio incubator business in the UK. We have created the blueprint and business model for creating and growing successful companies in the life sciences sector. In Trinity IM and Harrison Street, we have complete confidence that we have found the right, mission-aligned partners with whom we can amplify our impact.”