Introducing Infex Therapeutics

The organisation leading UK efforts to tackle the health crisis around our dwindling supply of effective antibiotics is broadening its focus to include infectious disease – and has today unveiled a new identity.

Infex Therapeutics, formerly The AMR Centre, is taking its proven drug development model to target a wider range of World Health Organisation critical-priority viral and microbial infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

Operating from its base at Alderley Park in north-west England, Infex Therapeutics will exploit a transferable set of skills, expertise and capability in the wider infectious disease sector. The company is already progressing a portfolio of new drugs, including an anti-virulence program, COT-143, through an agreement with the Japanese pharma company Shionogi. The therapy is designed to help tackle Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, a hard to treat drug-resistant pathogen that features in non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis and other lung diseases.

Executive director Peter Jackson said: “We are building critical mass as a clinical development organisation and have identified new pipeline of opportunities across the wider infectious disease sector. The launch of Infex Therapeutics gives us a clearer identity and a better reflection of our business model. Our focus is on developing clinical stage drugs to treat infectious diseases.

“Our team has proven capability and expertise in the acquisition and development of a new generation of therapies to meet the rising burden of critical priority infections to address unmet patient needs. We will identify and acquire promising technologies then deliver assets with compelling target product profiles that are attractive to out-license to major pharmaceutical companies.

“More importantly, we will be bringing a new portfolio of drugs into clinical trials to treat patients suffering from life-threatening critical-priority infections.”

Infex Therapeutics starts out with a portfolio of innovative drugs in development and an exciting pipeline of new opportunities across a range of diseases and pathogens. It has over £10m of partner revenues and non-dilutive grants already contracted over the next three years with more in the pipeline. These projects include a co-development agreement with a US biotech partner on a new gonorrhoea drug.

Technology firm CDS signs up for Birchwood Park

Technology firm CDS signs up for Birchwood Park

Patrizia-managed Birchwood Park, the North West’s largest single-owned out-of-town business park, has welcomed technology firm CDS, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, to its portfolio of occupiers on the park.

CDS will be moving into Birchwood Park’s Chadwick House, taking 2,600 sq ft of space.

The company provides installation, maintenance and technical support services for IT infrastructure, and the team based at Birchwood Park will form part of its customer service division.

So as to retain business continuity in the Warrington area for its staff as part of the office relocation from nearby Birchwood Science Park, CDS chose Birchwood Park due to the availability of the space and the high standard of amenities on offer for the team.

It said it wanted its staff to feel suitably supported, and to be able to make use of the wide-ranging amenities on offer, car parking options, abundance of green space, and wellbeing-focused initiatives on offer at Birchwood Park.

Martin O’Rourke, commercial director at Birchwood Park, said: “It’s fantastic to be welcoming another global business to the park, and we’re excited to welcome the whole CDS team once businesses are able to fully return to work.

“We pride ourselves on having been the leading out-of-town business destination in the North West for the past 20 years.

“Strengthening our hub of science and technology firms is key for us here at Birchwood Park, being at the heart of the Cheshire and Warrington Science Corridor, so we welcome the continued growth in this area.”

In 2018, Birchwood Park celebrated its 20th birthday. Since 1998, the park has almost tripled in size, providing 1.1 million sq ft of office and warehouse space and accommodating more than 165 businesses in a variety of sectors.

Major boost in global fight against antimicrobial resistance as AMR Centre receives share of Strength in Places Fund award

The AMR Centre has combined forces to attract much needed investment to combat the global threat of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) resulting in a successful bid for a £114 million project supported by  UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).  The funding was secured by a North West UK based consortium that will work in partnership to create an integrated platform for the development of new treatments and diagnostics for infectious diseases.

Developed by UKRI, the Strength in Places Fund (SIPF) is a competitive funding scheme that takes a place-based approach to research and innovation to support significant local economic growth.

Based at Alderley Park, Cheshire, the AMR Centre is focused on accelerating the development of new treatments for drug-resistant infections through a fully integrated development capability, offering translational R&D from pre-clinical hits through to clinical proof of concept. The AMR Centre will receive a £4.55m share of Government funding over the next five years to progress its lead assets into clinical trials and bring forward pre-clinical projects.

The SIPF funding comes during a key period for antimicrobial resistance research, with the NHS currently collaborating with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on a pilot project under which NHS England will evaluate and procure two AMR drugs on a trial basis – de-linking the valuation and reward payments from the medicines’ usage, which has a been key impediment to getting new antibiotics to market.

Peter Jackson, executive director of The AMR Centre, said: This is an important milestone for the AMR Centre and will have a positive ripple effect in the global community focused on antimicrobial resistance. New resistance mechanisms are constantly emerging, putting in jeopardy our ability to treat common infectious diseases such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, sepsis and gonorrhea. This funding will enable us to propel forward our exciting clinical programs and expand our work with other life sciences companies – in particular smaller biotechs – to develop innovative technologies to treat AMR.

This funding, in conjunction with the ongoing NHS/NICE trial, is further confirmation of the UK’s role at the forefront of the global response to antimicrobial resistance. There is currently real momentum, and, although there is very long way to go, the SIPF award takes us one step closer to get new drugs to patients suffering life-threatening infections around the world.

The terrible impact of coronavirus has demonstrated the importance of preparedness against infectious diseases – antimicrobial resistance is already one of the world’s most pressing issues, but the work that we will deliver in the coming years will lay the groundwork for saving many lives for decades to come.

Dr Kath Mackay, managing director of Bruntwood SciTech – Alderley Park, added:Today’s announcement recognises the economic importance of the life science sector, its role in accelerating economic growth and the world-class research and development facilities we have here at Alderley Park and across the North West. As part of the consortium, and alongside businesses such as Evotec that are also based here at Alderley Park, we’re proud to have played our part in helping to secure this funding. There has never been a greater need for investment in the fight against infectious diseases and with committed funding for the next five years, the AMR Centre is in an even stronger position to continue its charge on antimicrobial resistance. It will now be able to collaborate with organisations across the life science sector, many of which are based at Alderley Park, to develop new treatments and diagnostics in the fight against infectious diseases, and we’re committed to continuing our support of such an important project.”

The consortium will establish the North West of England as the national and international centre for translational R&D, providing industry with access to a progressive repository of methodologies and improved models for product development for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of critical infectious diseases.

The government will provide the consortium with £19m of funding from UKRI which will be matched with £95m from other public, private sector and philanthropic organisations over a five year period.

The core partners on the consortium, which will be led by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, are:

●         AMR Centre

●         Evotec

●         Unilever

●         University of Liverpool

●         Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Universities Hospital Trust

●         Alderley Park, Bruntwood SciTech

India-based Sai Life Sciences sets up first European hub at Alderley Park

Sai Life Sciences’ lab at Alderley Park will enable seamless integration between the rest of the company’s service offerings across the US and India

Sai Life Sciences, one of India’s fastest growing contract development and manufacturing organisations, is to establish its first European hub at Alderley Park, part of the Bruntwood SciTech network.

The business, which works globally with innovative biotech and pharma companies to accelerate the discovery, development and manufacture of complex small molecules, aims to support the launch of 25 new medicines by 2025.

It already works with seven of the world’s top 10 large pharma companies, as well as several small and mid-sized pharma and biotech companies, and will now join a community of more than 200 science and technology businesses at the UK’s largest single site life science campus in a bid to support this goal.

Sai Life Sciences’ lab at Alderley Park will enable seamless integration between the rest of the company’s service offerings across the US and India, and which span the drug discovery and development continuum from biology, medicinal chemistry, DMPK and toxicology through to process development and commercial scale manufacturing.

Andrew Kennedy, Vice President and Manchester Site Head at Sai Life Sciences, said: “Alderley Park’s world-class facilities make it the perfect place for us to set-up a Centre of Excellence for Small Molecule API Process Development that will have a positive and lasting impact on the future of healthcare. To achieve our goal of supporting the development of 25 new medicines by 2025 it’s important that we’re part of a community that is dedicated to nurturing science and innovation, and with access to some of the finest pharmaceutical talent, excellent travel links and a broad range of businesses across the sector, we’re looking forward to establishing our first European base here at Alderley Park.”

As the first India-headquartered company to be located at the Park, Sai Life Sciences will join organisations such as the Medicines Discovery Catapult, which is focused on the acceleration of drug discovery through better use of technology and is currently coordinating the national Lighthouse Lab COVID-19 ‘megalab’ testing facilities, one of which is based at Alderley Park; The AMR Centre, a joint private-public initiative that supports the development of new antibiotics; as well as dozens of start-up and larger scale biotechs.

The business will have access to more than 5,000 sq. ft of research, development and kilo laboratory space that focuses on complex chemistries better enabling Sai Life Sciences to support its customers across the UK, US and Europe by adding value to their NCE development programs.

Dr Kath Mackay, managing director Bruntwood SciTech – Alderley Park, added: “The arrival of Sai Life Sciences to Alderley Park is not only testament to the strength of the facilities on offer here, but to the community we have built and the collaboration opportunities that this presents. Their move brings contract development and manufacturing to Alderley Park, cementing our position as a global destination for all things life science.

“As a business dedicated to drug discovery and development – something that’s particularly important at the moment – we’re proud Sai Life Sciences chose to establish its first European base here at Alderley Park and join the Bruntwood SciTech network. We look forward to supporting the team as they play an important role in the development of the life science sector.”

For more information about Sai Life Sciences please visit:

The most recent investment at Alderley Park was into Colibri Scientific

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF), which is delivered by British Business Bank has invested a total of £2.5m into businesses based at Alderley Park, Cheshire, the UK’s largest single site life science campus.

The £2.5m invested into businesses at Alderley Park forms part of NPIF’s £10m milestone that was recently achieved in the Cheshire and Warrington region.

Alderley Park offers bioscience facilities for life science companies at every stage and is home to over 200 businesses. It includes a range of workspaces, events and a community that encourages businesses to collaborate, innovate and grow.

The milestone includes a £150,000 loan to Aptus Clincal from NPIF – FW – FW Capital Debt Finance which the company received in 2018.. Aptus Clinical specialises in clinical contact research, enabling it to transform promising molecules into valued medicines. The loan was used to support its growth, allowing additional investment in infrastructure and capabilities to better serve the needs of the growing client base. The firm also relocated to a larger office within Alderley Park in 2018 as part of its expansion plans and hired more senior staff members.

Also based at the site and supported by FW Capital, Alderley Analytical received two separate investments of £300,000 in 2018 and 2019 to fund the purchase of two mass spectrometers. The bioanalytical service supports drug development programmes with a mission to support the rapid development of new drugs.

Most recently, Colibri Scientific received an £80,000 loan delivered by NPIF – BFS and MSIF Microfinance. Colibri Scientific is a clinical trials service, providing personalised and operational samples to clinical investigators, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies running small to medium scale multi-centre studies. The firm plans to use the loan to bolster headcount and expand the business by developing a laboratory information portal.

NPIF was established in 2017 with the aim to deliver a range of funding options to ambitious and high-growth SMEs to aid expansion and create economic prosperity in the North of England. Cheshire is one of the funds’ 10 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas in which NPIF has made an impact by helping businesses seeking investment to accelerate their growth. The Fund offers a range of finance options including micro-finance, debt finance and equity finance, with investments ranging in size from £25,000 to £2m.

Grant Peggie, Director of the British Business Bank, said:It is great to see the huge investment being made into Alderley Park which highlights the sheer amount of innovation that is taking place across the region. Reaching this £2.5m milestone at Alderley Park is really important for NPIF in showing the investment taking place across the Northern Powerhouse in science and new technologies.”

Christine Gaskell CBE DL, Chair of Cheshire and Warrington LEP said:This milestone shows how much NPIF is helping to drive forward economic growth in Cheshire and Warrington and supporting the ever-developing cluster of innovative science and technology businesses at Alderley Park. We are delighted that the fund is making investments in to businesses that are developing the latest in medical, scientific and biotech industries thus furthering our reputation as a centre for innovation.”

Dr Kath Mackay, Managing Director of Alderley Park, said:Access to funding is a hugely important issue and our ecosystem of innovative, ambitious businesses at Alderley Park has been well supported by the NPIF, as this milestone demonstrates. Growing the science and technology sector is central to the future of UK Plc and Alderley Park is major element in a wider picture of the North West’s flourishing knowledge-based economy .”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

Find out more about NPIF here

Helix Business Park in vogue with latest deal

Gaerwen Properties has secured another letting for its second phase of Helix Business Park at Newbridge Road, Ellesmere Port, which completed in October. Helix Business Park forms part of the Cheshire Science Corridor which is supported by the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership.

Big Style Fashions has taken unit 8 extending to 15,750 sq ft for a new fulfilment centre for its rapidly expanding online fashion business. The announcement follows hot on the heels of the letting of unit 7 (12,000 sq ft) to BePlas. The final unit of 12,000 sq ft is also understood to be under offer.

Helix comprises 92,000 sq ft of new build manufacturing units situated close to J10 of the M53. The first phase of 52,000 sq ft was let at practical completion to Cook Compression and Thyson Technologies.

Stephen Wade, director at Legat Owen, sole agent for the scheme commented: “Helix meets the needs of the market providing high quality, small to mid-range units in the Ellesmere Port area. The scheme benefits from being situated in the Cheshire Science Corridor which offers qualifying occupiers generous rates incentives. We are pleased to have let over 80,000 sq ft so quickly after practical completion. The success to date is testimony to the commitment to spec build and the support provided by the Cheshire and Warrington LEP.”

Director of Big Style Fashion, Darrell Freeman, continued: “Being based at Helix will allow us to continue to grow our business in line with our strategic business plan. The quality of the development and the proximity of the scheme to the surrounding motorway network mean that we are now well placed for 2020 and beyond.”