RedX says £6m RGF bid will unlock 200 biotech jobs

BIOTECH firm RedX Pharma is bidding for nearly £6m from the Regional Growth Fund, which it says will help it create a £39m centre of excellence in Liverpool to conduct early-stage research into new drugs to treat cancer and other serious illnesses.

If the project goes ahead it will create some 250 science jobs in the city over the next five years.

RedX Pharma Ltd, which was set up this last year says the £5.9m RGF bid would
underpin an initial two-year research phase, which would then unlock further investment of more than £33.2m from its shareholders and investors over five years.

If the funding bid is successful, the new centre will be operational from early 2012 and create some 127 science jobs in the first two years  at a chemistry, biochemistry and analytical testing resource.

It is expected that a further 119 posts will be generated as the centre develops between 2014 and 2016. This figure includes a provision for 24 trainees/apprentices in each of the five years of the project.

Activities would be based around RedX Pharma’s existing pipeline of 40 research drug libraries in a wide variety of cancer types, and designed to deliver a flow of experimental drugs for progression into human clinical trials.

The project is supported by Liverpool City Council (Liverpool Vision), Liverpool University, Royal Liverpool University Hospital and the Liverpool Cancer Research UK Centre. 

It will take advantage of the local knowledge base and new biopharmaceutical laboratory infrastructure being created separately in central Liverpool at both Liverpool Science Park and the proposed Bio Campus which is part of the redevelopment of Royal Liverpool Hospital 

Dr Neil Murray, chief executive of RedX Pharma, said:  “We share a vision with the city that life science has a major role to play in the development of Liverpool’s future and we believe that our centre of excellence will create the critical mass necessary to create a step change in that strategy.

“The expansion we are proposing and the prospects for Liverpool need to be set in a global context.  There is a clear trend for big players in the pharma market simply licensing or buying promising early stage development programmes from smaller, more nimble and innovative biotech companies, rather than trying to discover drugs themselves. This approach is reducing risk, lowering costs, and increasing returns.”

Max Steinberg, chief executive of Liverpool Vision, the city’s economic development company, commented: “With the development of the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and associated cluster of businesses, our city has the potential to become a world leader in bio sciences.  

“The expansion of RedX would in itself be a powerful statement of intent in respect of the city’s ambitions in this field.

“In addition to the pure economic and employment benefits, the project will help to ensure that a more effective supply of anti-cancer drugs will be brought to market much more quickly because of the drive and expertise of a UK based company.”