£540m bioelectronics investment is massive boost for post Brexit Stevenage

GlaxoSmithKline, Stevenage

GlaxoSmithKline, Stevenage - Credit: Archant

In a massive boost to post-Brexit Britain, Stevenage is to be at the centre of a £540 million investment in cutting edge technology to build electronic machines that will fight diseases inside the human body.

GlaxoSmithKline in Stevenage

GlaxoSmithKline in Stevenage - Credit: Archant

GlaxoSmithKline this week unveiled the massive cash boost to be split between its Stevenage and San Francisco research bases.

It will see GSK team up with Verily, the life sciences arm of Google’s parent company Alphabet, to set more than 30 scientists on the groundbreaking task.

Along with the continued development of Stevenage’s Bioscience Catalyst, the new company to be called Galvani Bioelectronics, places the town at the very forefront of pioneering bioscience research.

The research will help build tiny machines that give off electrical impulses in the body that are often interrupted during serious illnesses such as cancers and Type 2 diabetes.

The almost invisible machines could one day replace pills and injections.

Moncef Slaoui, GSK’s Chairman of Global Vaccines who will chair the new company, said: “This agreement with Verily to establish Galvani Bioelectronics signals a crucial step forward in GSK’s bioelectronics journey, bringing together health and technology to realise a shared vision of miniaturised, precision electrical therapies.

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“Together, we can rapidly accelerate the pace of progress in this exciting field, to develop innovative medicines that truly speak the electrical language of the body.”

Stevenage Borough Council’s leader Sharon Taylor added: “What a huge thing for Stevenage to get that kind of investment and having a brand new technology being developed here.

“It places us right at the heart of the new generation of bioscience technology with Stevenage as a catalyst for it.”

Andrew Stroomer, site director at Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage and a board member at Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Parnership, said: “Part of our role at the LEP is to make sure this kind of investment in technology happens here and not elsewhere, to encourage people to come here and to make it as easy as possible for visitors and staff to get around the place.

“We want to keep the focus on science and technology in Hertfordshire and encourage it to grow and grow.”

GSK will hold a 55 per cent interest in the new jointly owned company and Verily will hold 45 per cent. The new company will bring together GSK’s world class expertise in drug development and diseases with Verily’s world leading expertise in miniature electronics.