SLA welcomes appointment of Chairman of UK Cell Therapy catapult

Released: Wednesday 12th September 2012

The Scottish Lifesciences Association (SLA) welcomes today's appointment of its Chairman, Dr John Brown CBE FRSE to the role of Chairman at the UK Cell Therapy Catapult. The appointment has been made by the Technology Strategy Board, which is setting up a series of Catapults across the UK for advanced technology sectors.

Commenting on his appointment, Dr John Brown said: “The Cell Therapy Catapult will position the UK as the leader in this new area of medicine. Translating great science into products will deliver benefits both for patients but also our economy and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to build on the great foundation of work that the Technology Strategy Board has already done.”

Scott Johnstone, SLA Chief Executive said: "John will bring excellent skills and a wealth of business experience from the life sciences sector to the Cell Therapy Catapult. He will ensure the Catapult helps make the UK a global leader in cell therapy where science is translated into potential treatments for patients. He will also ensure that Scotland’s great track record in stem cell research, which so far has not been commercially exploited as strongly as hoped for, contributes strongly to the work of the Catapult.

"John’s roles as SLA Chairman and as Chair of the Cell Therapy Catapult will ensure that strong links develop between the two organisations, and with Scotland’s vibrant life sciences sector as a whole."

Notes to Editors

The cell therapy industry is expected to be worth £3.1billion by 2014 with even greater growth predicted beyond that. The UK, and Scotland, is well positioned to gain a substantial share of this new market due to its leading position in the science of stem cells and regenerative medicine; the NHS as a potential lead market; access to mature capital markets including Scotland’s vibrant business angel community; and established biotechnology, medical device and blood transfusion sectors.

The Technology Strategy Board has already decided to set up an Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult with a primary location in Glasgow. The Cell Therapy Catapult will be located in London, but strong links with Scotland’s globally recognised strengths in stem cell and regenerative medicine will be maintained by John Brown’s appointment as Chair. The Catapult’s Chief executive is Keith Thompson, who until recently was Chief Executive of Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service.

Stem cell research is dominated by SMEs facing the challenges of emerging technologies, including regulatory and strategic uncertainties. The Cell Therapy Catapult will be a single, autonomous entity, nationally inclusive across the UK, independent of higher education institutions. It will play a significant role in speeding up development and accelerating routes to market.

The Catapult, which is expected to open later in 2012, will be located within Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust in central London.

For further information contact Scott Johnstone on 0131 225 4628

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