Closer links between Scotland and California based CIRM

Embargoed until (GMT): 
19 Jan 2012 - 1:00pm UTC

Scotland signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Californian Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) on Thursday 19 January 2012.

Facilitated by Scottish Development International (SDI), the MoU will enable joint research between scientists and companies in Scotland and California and will explore the creation of a collaborative partnership between CIRM and Scotland. Signing took place at the University of Edinburgh’s MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine.

Image: Signing of the MoU. From left to right: Alan Trounson, President of CIRM, Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Anne MacColl, CEO SDI.

Scotland’s global reputation for its world-leading capabilities in stem cell research led CIRM to proactively seek to develop partnerships with Scottish businesses and academia, creating the opportunity for both parties to realise ambitious projects by sharing expertise and innovation.

The aims for Scotland in signing the MoU are to:

  • Further raise the awareness of Scotland’s profile in stem cells in the US, UK and internationally
  • Encourage further links between Scottish companies and their commercial and academic counterparts in California
  • Develop closer ties between Californian companies and Scottish clinicians.

Anne MacColl, chief executive of Scottish Development International said: “Scotland is globally recognised as a trailblazer in the life sciences sector and this MoU is further testament to our appeal as a partner of choice in ambitious world-leading projects."

"The signing of the MoU will provide an excellent foundation for Scottish companies to build relationships with Californian businesses. It will further boost Scotland’s profile as the primary location to undertake clinical trials, help to create new inward investment for Scotland and increase customers for our rapidly growing stem cell supply chain."

"These new relationships, together with our academic expertise, will also allow us to push new potential therapies, in areas such as cardiovascular disease, liver disease, neurological and retinal disorders and blood diseases, through to clinical trials -decreasing the time it takes for these therapies to become a reality and giving the Scottish life sciences sector an extra competitive edge."

“Scottish Development International is committed to supporting Scottish-based companies to work with Californian scientists and businesses on large-scale programmes, driving dynamic growth back into the Scottish economy. The works starts now . The opportunities are boundless.”

Providing grants and loans for stem cell research, facilities and opportunities in California, CIRM activity has meant that like Scotland, California is internationally recognised as one of the key locations for the innovation and commercialisation of stem cells. California is also now home to a number of companies that are developing new stem cell-based therapies - all of which presents huge opportunities for the Scottish regenerative medicine industry.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "Scotland’s life sciences research is rightly regarded as among the very best in the world and we are determined to continue to build on that enviable reputation for the future. “This work opens up opportunities for our researchers to work together and in partnership with CIRM to turn cutting-edge research into real health benefits. I am confident that this joint research agreement will give Scotland a competitive advantage in the global marketplace."
Alan Trounson, President of CIRM, said: “Scotland has robust stem cell research communities in both basic science and translational clinical science, which should create synergies with many projects in California and help us further leverage California’s investment in the field for the good of patients everywhere,”

In 2004, Scottish Enterprise (SE), working with leading academics, clinicians and companies, developed an ambitious, long-term plan to consolidate the academic strengths and build a vibrant industry. The Stem Cell Intervention Framework represents an investment of £90m, including £34m from SE. Scotland’s stem cell landscape has strengthened further this year with 20 Scottish companies now actively involved in the field across the supply chain.

The new £54m Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine Building, with its state-of-the-art GMP facilities, will maintain Scotland’s cutting-edge research base.

Image: Memorandum of Understanding.

See also press release on CIRM website.