The Biosphere, a specialist lab facility on Newcastle Helix, has welcomed yet another Newcastle University spin-out, who has developed and commercialised a prognostic test for early-stage skin cancer.
Formed in 2017, AMLo Biosciences’ first product (AMBLor) – a ground-breaking melanoma test will go to market in 2021. AMBLor will be launched in both the UK, USA and Australia and has the potential to save up to 2,000 lives every year as well as reassure thousands of others that their early stage skin cancer will not progress. This first-in class diagnostic identifies the metastatic potential of early stage melanoma. This prognostic test for early AJCC Stage I and Stage II melanoma will help better identify a patient’s true risk of disease progression.
The Biosphere building filled a historic gap in the supply of commercial laboratory space in Newcastle and is already home to other university spin outs, including NewCells Biotech, NorthGene, MDNA Life Sciences, BiBerChem, Demuris, Atelerix and Alcyomics. It also provides a flexible options for more established life sciences businesses including Iksuda Therapeutics, NewChem Technologies, Jiahua, ExplantLab, and Biosignatures.
Newcastle University has a successful track record of innovative spin-out businesses that support the growth of the life science sector in the North East of England. Schemes like the Northern Accelerator support the commercialisation of research within our regional universities, and AMLo are just one example of this.
Dr Marie Labus, Chief Executive Officer of AMLo Biosciences, who has spent 16 years of her career leading research, product development and life science spin outs said: “The Biosphere was an ideal location for us, being close to the university and an outstanding hospital trust and with easy international and national connections via the airport and train networks, which are both under 20 minutes away. The flexible space is surrounded by a growing £1.5bn eco-system, ideal for a young company looking to grow. By being based on Newcastle Helix we have access to world-class science research, national facilities and complementary organisations which make it a very attractive location for an early stage company with ambitions to collaborate and grow.
“Too many people think you need to be based down south to be successful. We want to grow AMLo’s operations and international presence from Newcastle and play our part in creating jobs and opportunities for local people. We currently employ fewer than 10 people, but we have significant growth aims for our Newcastle office and laboratory. Our priority is to get AMBLor to market to help improve outcomes for melanoma patients and in the longer term we are looking to expand this product range for other cancers. We are delighted to join and help grow the life science sector in Newcastle.”
Councillor Jed Bell, Cabinet Member for Employment and Culture at Newcastle City Council said: “As we look toward the recovery of our economy our regions strengths in life sciences look to play a vital role. Our city is home to world leading research, and it is so important to translate this into commercial opportunity, that in turn will create new companies and jobs in highly skilled future facing sectors like life sciences. Now more than ever we need to maximise these commercial opportunities and attract talented entrepreneurs and leaders to start and grow a business in Newcastle. The vision of Newcastle Helix is to support people to live well and we could not be prouder that AMLo Biosciences will grow their international presence right here from Newcastle, providing jobs for local people, improving, and saving lives.”
Luke Dunnett, Property Business Manager at The Biosphere, added: “We are so proud that The Biosphere has become a hot spot for innovative new companies who are not only looking to make a difference in Newcastle, but across the world. Despite the uncertain environment, businesses have continued to innovate, with many of our tenants being awarded significant funding during lockdown to take their research forward. A huge welcome to ALMo Biosciences who will now be part of The Biosphere’s future success.”
The Biosphere is a purpose-built laboratory facility on Newcastle Helix dedicated to the commercialisation of life sciences. It has secured significant funding through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the Government’s Local Growth Deal through the North East LEP. Both funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.