Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a division of Wyeth, today (Tuesday 17 March) officially opened The Protein Therapeutics Lab (PTL), an advanced biopharmaceutical research facility located on the Foresterhill campus of the University of Aberdeen.
PTL is focusing on the discovery and development of the next generation of biopharmaceutical therapies, which may lead to the development of novel protein treatments for neuroscience, oncology, inflammation and metabolic diseases.
Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland, presided over the opening.
The First Minister said: "Life sciences is one of Scotland's key industries, employing more than 30,000 people and contributing £3 billion to our economy. And it is growing – 15 per cent faster than the average European growth rate.
"The presence in Scotland of Wyeth, one of the largest research-driven biopharmaceutical companies in the world, is testament to the skills, expertise and growth potential we offer."
He added, "Wyeth's innovative research and technology, such as using the protein from sharks, is investigating potential new therapies for illnesses such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease and rheumatoid arthritis."
PTL will build upon the work of Haptogen Ltd., a biotech company based in Aberdeen, that Wyeth acquired in October 2007.
The lab is developing technologies that allow for the discovery and optimisation of protein therapeutics with significantly improved profiles over the current generation of protein therapies.
The benefits of these next generation protein therapeutics include the potential for more convenient routes of administration as well as cell and organ penetration. This research may lead to the development of new therapies for diseases that are not treatable with first generation protein therapeutics.
"Scotland's excellence in the life sciences industry is recognised around the world," said Menelas Pangalos, Ph.D., Executive Vice President of Discovery, Wyeth Research, who was in Aberdeen for the opening.
"We believe strongly in the importance of having a broad range of biotherapeutic platform technologies for the successful progression of our drug discovery programs. The research being conducted at this facility has the potential to pave the way for a new generation of protein therapeutics that address significant unmet medical needs and offer new promise for patients."
Wyeth's relationship with Scotland extends beyond PTL. The Company is working with the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, regional National Health Service boards and Scottish Enterprise as part of the Translational Medicine Research Collaboration and with the University of Strathclyde on a collaboration in the field of medicinal chemistry.
Jack Perry, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise which has worked closely with Wyeth to help develop its operations in Scotland, said: "The opening of the Protein Therapeutics Laboratory further enhances Scotland's already remarkable reputation as the centre of excellence in life sciences. It also provides new momentum for Scotland to lead the way in the development of personalised medicine, bringing new treatments to patients suffering from a range of serious illnesses.
"Wyeth has been an outstanding partner for Scotland in the Translational Medicine Research Collaboration which itself is a great illustration of Scotland's capability in conducting world leading research.
"Both Wyeth and the Scottish economy – and ultimately Scottish patients – will benefit from the collaboration as it continues to evolve as one of Europe's most creative and best connected life sciences communities.
"The opening of this centre represents a major economic investment in the North East and boosts Aberdeen's growing reputation as one of Scotland's major hubs for life sciences expertise."