The 10th anniversary of the Scottish Biologics Facility (2009-2019) was marked with a one-day science symposium which brought together a fantastic line up of speakers from across the biotech and pharma community. The day was filled with the experiences of pioneers in biologics and drug discovery sharing their scientific insights and ground-breaking career moments. All the day’s speakers had a strong historical link to Scotland, Aberdeen and the City’s long history as a centre of excellence for biologics research. Speakers included founders and CEOs from several successful UK biotech companies: TauRx Therapeutics Ltd, Iontas Ltd, Novabiotics Ltd.  Programme leads from:  GSK, TC Biopharm, Elasmogen Ltd, Iontas Ltd, and the Lead discovery centre with academic experts and key figures from the North East economic development (Life Sciences) board also contributing to the breadth of issues discussed.

The one-day symposium was held at the University of Aberdeen’s Institute of Medical Sciences on September 9, 2019 and was attended by industry scientists, academic researchers and students from the IMS community. The event was supported by the University of Aberdeen School of Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition, British Society of Immunology and TauRx Pharmaceuticals. Professor Siladitya Bhattacharya, Head of School Medicine, Medical Sciences & Nutrition gave the inaugural address, followed by keynote speakers Dr John McCafferty and Prof Claude Wischik. Dr McCafferty is the co-inventor of antibody phage display and developer of Humira® the world’s most commercially successful drug. He is currently the Founder and CEO of Iontas Ltd an innovative biotechnology company using phage display to develop novel antibody therapeutics. Prof Claude Wischik Co-Founder & CEO of TauRx Pharmaceuticals is a pioneer in Tau research with nearly 30 years of research experience in discovering novel approaches for the treatment and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and other neurodegenerative disorders. During his keynote Prof Wischik showcased the ongoing immuno-programme with the SBF, where the science team, based on TauRx’s tau aggregation theory, is developing antibody-based diagnostics and therapeutics in ‘tauopathies’ including AD.  

The symposium highlighted next generation biologics such as soloMERs, Knotbodies, CAR-T technologies, next-generation anti-TNF and Alzheimer’s immuno-therapeutics and anti-microbial biologics. The attendees heard from Professor Stephen Logan, Chairman, Opportunity North East Life Sciences Board, Prof Carol Munro, Aberdeen Fungal Lab, University of Aberdeen, Dr Deborah O’Neil, Founder, CEO & CSO Novabiotics Ltd, Dr Steven Grant, Manager Biopharm Discovery Group, GSK, Dr Aneesh Karat Vellat, Group Leader, Iontas Ltd., Dr Obinna Ubah Senior Scientist, Elasmogen Ltd, Dr Marta Barisa, Product Development Manager (Vδ1) TC Biopharm, Sven Zimmer, Business Development Manager, Lead Discovery Center GmbH. 

The 10th anniversary symposium was concluded with a dinner in the evening at Trinity Hall, Aberdeen where students and ECRs got an opportunity to network with industry specialists, build connections and expand their professional network.