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Lord Drayson marks Success of Oxfordshire Innovation Centre


Lord Drayson, Minister of State for Science and Innovation, visited Milton Park Innovation Centre, Oxfordshire, today (Thursday 19 November) to mark the key role played by the £6 million facility in providing support for entrepreneurs and innovative start-up companies during its first 12 months of operations.

The 39,000 sq ft, environmentally efficient Innovation Centre was constructed by MEPC Milton Park, one of Europe’s largest multi-use business parks, and is managed by Oxford Innovation, the UK’s leading operator of innovation centres.

The Innovation Centre provides a range of high quality offices on flexible terms. Companies in the building also have access to support provided by Oxford Innovation, including funding assistance, networking events and mentoring.

Lord Drayson said, “Milton Park Innovation Centre is an Oxfordshire success story. It supports the next generation of hi-tech companies, which are crucial to our economic growth.”

Since opening for business last December, the Centre has attracted 32 start-up and growing technology companies. 24 businesses occupy office premises and eight have taken up an associated professional virtual office service. They include:

• Enigma Diagnostics, a company developing portable diagnostics testing instruments used in on-site testing by medical healthcare staff and veterinary professionals as well as military and security personnel. The diagnostic instruments deliver accurate results in around 45 minutes eliminating the need to wait days for results from central laboratories. Enigma has recently signed an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline to develop a point-of-care diagnostic system to identify specific influenza strains.
• Claresys, a company developing optical lens products for uses such as surveillance and optical inspection.
• Tidy Graphics, a creative company specialising in innovative graphic design whose clients include Didcot Railway Centre, Experience England Tours and Elfin Productions.

The Minister officially marked the first anniversary of the Centre by releasing 99 balloons in the branding colours of the building, which is located at 99 Milton Park.

He then mingled with around 100 guests at the event who included Ed Vaizey, MP for Didcot and Wantage, and senior representatives from leading businesses in the county, including Sir Martin and Lady (Audrey) Wood, co-founders of Oxford Instruments plc, Europe’s first university spin-out company which marks its 50th anniversary this year, as well as senior representatives from the two universities, scientific research establishments and public sector organisations.

James Dipple, managing director of MEPC Milton Park, said, “ We financed the construction of this building and chose Oxford Innovation to run it on our behalf in order that innovative flexible businesses can enjoy the benefits of high quality accommodation at one of the country’s top business estates. We hope they thrive in this positive environment and grow on to occupy bigger buildings on the estate where we keep a stock of suitable premises that are available to lease on very competitive terms.”

Dr Phillip Leo, director and head of innovation centres at Oxford Innovation, said, “We are delighted with the success of this flagship Innovation Centre – it has become a hub of entrepreneurial activity for early stage technology companies on Milton Park.”

John McKinley, chairman of Enigma Diagnostics, said, “The Innovation Centre provides the perfect environment for our rapidly expanding science-based business. We benefit from high quality offices in a great location on Milton Park, right in the heart of the Oxford-Cambridge-London science hub. We are close to our partners and have access to a highly skilled workforce and a network of larger companies specializing in science and engineering.”

Andy McLeod, chief executive officer of Claresys, said, “We chose to locate at the Innovation Centre because it offers flexibility - we can take the space we need depending on how our business model and the market progresses. For instance, we have already brought acceptance testing of lenses in-house, which has required us to double our floor space here.”

The future is looking good for Claresys. McLeod added, “We have started the design work for a new range of lenses for long range surveillance and we’re also doing some small scale assembly of optical prototypes using our new lab space here.”

Lea Chapman, founder of Tidy Graphics, moved to the Centre shortly after he started his business in April 2009. He said, “I moved into the Innovation Centre from home because I needed to work in a professional environment as my client base grew. The Centre provides a good range of offices that we can grow into and a major factor in our growth so far has been the support from the Centre staff that really makes life easier for a start-up. The aesthetics of the building also help to present the right image for a design company!”

ENDS

Press contact:

Margaret Henry
Company Secretary & PR Director
Oxford Innovation
Tel: +44 (0) 1865 811199
Email: m.henry@oxin.co.uk

Photos of Lord Drayson and the main spokespeople at Milton Park Innovation Centre are available on request.

About Lord Drayson:
Lord (Paul) Drayson co-founded vaccine company, PowderJect Pharmaceuticals plc, in Oxford and was Chairman and Chief Executive until 2003. He floated PowderJect on the London Stock Exchange in 1997 and over ten years built the PowderJect into one of the world’s leading vaccine companies with operations in the UK, USA and Scandinavia, until selling it for £540 million in 2003.

Lord Drayson is a former Chairman of the BioIndustry Association and was active in the industry’s campaign to tackle animal rights extremism. He was Chairman of the Oxford Children’s Hospital Fundraising Campaign from 2002-2005. The new Children’s Hospital at the John Radcliffe in Oxford opened in 2007. From 2003 to 2005, he was Science Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Said Business School at Oxford University, involved in the teaching of entrepreneurship to MBA students.

In October 2008, he was appointed as the Minister of State for Science and Innovation.

Lord Drayson’s hobbies include motor racing, and fencing. In June 2009, he completed his first race in the Le Mans 24 hours, the culmination of a lifetime’s ambition.

About Milton Park Innovation Centre:
Milton Park Innovation Centre is the result of an exciting collaboration between MEPC and Oxford Innovation. The building is state-of-the-art and purpose-built to provide high quality offices and business support for up to 60 small and growing companies in Oxfordshire.

The Centre comprises 39,000 sq ft over three floors, split between offices, meeting rooms and conference facilities. Flexibility has been a key consideration in the design: space can be let on flexible licence agreements in a range of unit sizes from 90 to 1,500 sq ft, and tenants are free of any long-term letting commitments.
For more information: www.miltonpark-ic.co.uk

About Milton Park:
Milton Park is one of Europe’s largest multi use business parks, located in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, and home to more than 165 companies with in excess of 6,500 employees.

The park is part of the MEPC portfolio, owned by Hermes Investment Management. MEPC owns more than 12 million sq ft of business space in the UK, of which 3.4 million sq ft is at Milton Park.

MEPC has owned Milton Park for 15 years and has invested more than £40m in facilities to make it one of the most progressive and desirable locations in the region.
For more information: www.miltonpark.co.uk

About Oxford Innovation:
Oxford Innovation provides services to growing companies, and to government bodies that promote enterprise. The company operates 12 Innovation Centres that provide flexible office and laboratory space to over 300 technology, knowledge-based and creative companies.

Oxford Innovation also manages three highly successful Investment Networks that link investors with entrepreneurs seeking funding from £20,000 to £2 million. During the last five years, the investment networks have helped over 90 companies raise £19.5m. For more information: www.oxin.co.uk

Oxford Innovation is part of SQW Group. Other divisions include SQW Consulting, which provides consultancy services in sustainable economic and social development to public sector organisations; SQW Energy, which provides energy market design and carbon management services and SQW Asia, operating from Hong Kong to provide economic and management consultancy services to Asia and the international market. For more information: www.sqwgroup.com


Publisher Contact Information:

Oxford Innovation
+44 (0)1865 811199
m.henry@oxin.co.uk

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