Abingdon: 10 new tech companies arrive at Milton Park

Ten new science and technology companies have joined MEPC’s Milton Park, one of the leading business communities in Europe, with five new leases agreed during lockdown and five agreed previously, totalling 45,448 sq ft.

The five companies that have agreed new leases during lockdown totalling 28,898 sq ft were:

Eden Research, an AIM-quoted company focused on sustainable biopesticides and plastic-free encapsulation technology for use in global crop protection, animal health and consumer products industries, has taken 2,924 sq ft of space at 18 North Central 127 Olympic Avenue.

The new laboratory facility will allow Eden to do far more in-house, including formulation, microbiological screening, plant and seed evaluations and analytical work. Eden also plans to use the laboratory for important insect-focussed work as part of its plan to develop its first bioinsecticide products, which will allow the company to enter new addressable markets valued at €850m in the EU and US combined.

Hypha Discovery, a contact research organisation supporting pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies worldwide through the synthesis and purification of metabolites and new derivatives of drugs and agrochemicals in discovery and development, has relocated from Slough and taken 8,988 sq ft at 154B and Ci Brook Drive for their team of 24 people. In addition to their expertise in metabolite synthesis, Hypha also possesses a wealth of experience in the production, purification and structure elucidation of natural products.

Sibelius, which specialises in the science behind homeopathic remedies, has taken 1,513 sq ft at 20 East Central, 127 Olympic Avenue. Founded in late 2015, from a spinout out of Oxford University, they focus on the need to support healthy ageing and the increasing market demand for branded, scientifically evidenced, clinically proven natural products.

Their patented ChronoscreenTM platform brings new, cost-effective tools to respond to the issues, utilising the validated model organism Caenorhabditis elegans to rapidly identify natural products that have the potential for beneficial effects on human health. Their platform permits exploration of the molecular basis of activity and provides the science to support investment in clinical trials. It also allows screening to identify novel ingredients, improved sources and synergistic mixtures.

Orbital Astronautics, which is focused on developing technologies to enable tiny satellites to operate in large flocks, has taken 1,538 sq ft at 119F Olympic Avenue. Orbital Astronautics’ technology manifest as a small plug-in module for satellites that fills the technology gap between operations of a single satellite and operations of a flock.

Empiribox, which provides science kits to schools, has taken 13,935 sq ft at 37D Innovation Drive having consolidated three warehouse and office locations into one building.

Richard McGrath, chief executive officer, Empiribox, said: “We chose Milton Park because the facilities were just what we needed to consolidate our three warehousing and office locations into one consolidated space. Being in a science focused enterprise zone also puts right in the middle of a great community of like-minded people and companies. We couldn’t be happier with our new space.”

Prior to the lockdown, a further five new leases were agreed totalling 16,550 sq ft to technology companies as they expanded their businesses, which were:

30 Technology is now based in 141 Park Drive, having moved from 100 Park Drive, and within eight months of arriving at Milton Park has more than doubled its footprint to 5,813 sq ft. The new facility is housing expanded clinical, research, development and regulatory activities as well as a newly formed state of the art laboratory containing specialist characterisation equipment and enhanced development capability.

30 Technology is developing and defining new models of care to treat many serious medical conditions by enhancing the body’s healing and defence mechanisms. The company’s unique formulations unlock the ability to use its nitric oxide generating technology in a variety of diseases and health conditions, and over a range of delivery platforms.

ITGL is a consultancy that helps people and organisations change the way they work through Cisco world leading technology and has taken space at the Innovation Centre.

LabMinds, headquartered in Massachusetts, USA, is the leader in AI and robotics for solution preparation in pharmaceutical and life science labs. A cornerstone of R&D and QA/QC processes, solution preparation continues to be a highly manual process with many moving parts, exposing labs to considerable risk and waste.

LabMinds Inc has taken 2,146 sq ft of space in 180D Park Drive having relocated its UK office from Summertown in Oxford to Milton Park.

VivoPlex has joined from Southampton University, taking 5,943 sq ft of office and laboratory space in 115 Innovation Drive. VivoPlex is a leader in real time and accurate intra-uterine monitoring for the optimisation of fertility treatment and uterine health. Its product is in development as the first insertable wireless device for the measurement of key uterine parameters in vivo. With the increased insight into uterine physiology provided by VivoPlex’s product, key opinion leaders believe it could become a gold-standard test in fertility clinics, improving current IVF success rates which remain low at 25-30%.

Arctoris has taken 2,648 sq ft of space in 120 Olympic Avenue, one of the first buildings built at the park as part of the Enterprise Zone.

Arctoris has an end-to-end automation platform that allows researchers and biotech entrepreneurs to design and remotely execute advanced cellular, biochemical and molecular biology research experiments in drug discovery.

Arctoris was founded to enable scientists and biotech entrepreneurs worldwide to make discoveries faster, more efficiently, and enjoy accelerated progress in their research whilst being liberated from manual work. Their goal is to put the most advanced research capabilities at scientists’ fingertips, so that they can find new cures for patients faster.

The Arctoris team totals 15 and comprises senior drug discovery scientists, world-leading experts in robotic control and automation, machine learning engineers, and software engineers.

Tom Fleming, Arctoris said: “Moving to Milton Park was an obvious choice for Arctoris, allowing us to hold onto our Oxford roots, while also opening up London recruitment and business development opportunities. Milton Park is proven fertile ground for high-growth life science companies, and we felt confident in the Park’s ability to accommodate our ever-growing robotic platform. We’ve transformed a warehouse on Olympic Avenue into bespoke laboratories and offices, with plenty of room for us to grow into. It’s a huge leap forward for Arctoris and fantastic foundations for success.”

Philip Campbell, MEPC commercial director, Milton Park added: “There is no question that the last few months have been unprecedented for so many people in so many ways. Therefore, we felt that the arrival of these impressive science and tech start-ups and SMEs to the Milton Park community, all of which are pursuing life-changing science and technological innovation, was one to celebrate. Even with Covid-19 and the lockdown, we are proud that Milton Park is continuing to attract new companies to our community. In the last six months, we have agreed a total more than 45,000 sq ft of new space to science and tech SMEs.

“We were due to announce the news of the other five companies just as lockdown struck but paused while we navigated through the changes. Now we can officially welcome them, along with our five newest occupiers. The last few months have not been without their challenges, and I would like to pay credit to our brilliant team. We are fortunate to have our 200+-acre estate, which at times like this, has been truly beneficial as we see those people who have been working here, and indeed the local community, hold outdoor and walking meetings and enjoy the fresh air and space to breathe.

“We look forward to welcoming more people back as they start to return to work when ready. We also plan to launch further new flexible innovation space in the next 12 months as part of our 2040 Vision, which will ensure that science and tech companies, such as our newest companies can thrive as part of our ecosystem.”