£1.9m for ‘world-leading’ gene therapy research project in Midlothian

Friday May 4th 2018

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A Midlothian company at the forefront of genetic medical research has been awarded a £1.9 grant to expand its programme of cell and gene therapy.

Synpromics Ltd, based in Roslin, is pioneering research that could unlock a one treatment cure for diseases such as leukaemia and certain types of blindness. The Scottish Enterprise research and development (R&D) grant will enable the firm to invest a total of £5.4 million in this area, creating 11 new jobs.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon met Dr Michael Roberts, Synpromics founder and Chief Scientific Officer , at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry’s annual forum in Edinburgh – where she welcomed that the company were the 475th to commit to the Scottish Business Pledge.

The First Minister said:

“Our commitment to increasing R&D is about providing the support innovative companies need to develop products and solutions that meet the future challenges facing both Scotland and the global economy. This latest grant means that, since we raised R&D funding last autumn, we have supported 40 projects with grants totalling £33 million.

“Synpromics is an excellent example of a fast-growing Scottish company with vision and ambition. Their expertise in world-leading gene therapy research has the potential to be truly life changing for patients.

“As the latest company to sign the Business Pledge – the 475th in Scotland – I also welcome that Synpromics are demonstrating their commitment to being a fair and forward thinking business.”

Dr Michael Roberts said:

“I am delighted that Synpromics have been able to sign up to the Scottish Business Pledge, which signals our commitment to creating a diverse and engaged team to enable us to drive innovation and sustainable global business growth.

“This investment will help fund Synpromics’ state-of-the-art research and build on the success of gene control technology programmes to date, focused on designing innovative cell and gene therapies. With this technology, we can enable the development of novel medicines for a range of devastating diseases where the current treatment options are limited or non-existent.”

Rhona Allison, Interim Managing Director at Scottish Enterprise, added:

“Synpromics’ work has the potential to transform the lives of millions of people across the globe, and this latest project is a fantastic example of the company’s cutting-edge research in the critical field of revolutionary new gene therapies.

“Innovation and innovative research is key to driving Scotland’s economic growth. Our R&D support not only recognises this project’s importance to Synpromics but also to the Scottish economy and our growing global reputation as a hub for life science excellence.”

Synpromics’ research involves synthetic gene promoters, which control genes in highly specific conditions. The grant will support pre-clinical evaluation studies, allowing the company to identify the best use of its technology for the treatment of disease using advanced therapeutic regimes such as cell and gene medicine.

In September, the First Minister announced an extra £45 million for R&D grants during this parliament, an increase of 70%. More on R&D grants provided by Scottish Enterprise.

The Scottish Business Pledge is a values-led partnership between government and business, with a shared ambition of increasing productivity, competitiveness and sustainable employment, through fair work, workforce engagement and development.

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