The White City Incubator has created more than 100 jobs in the borough and brought in over £85 million of investment since opening its doors 18 months ago.
The 18,000 sqft facility, which helps small, early-stage technology businesses to grow, is based in Imperial College London’s innovative I-Hub building in Wood Lane.
It forms part of the borough’s thriving biotech, digital and creative scene which includes the rest of Imperial’s new innovation and research district, London’s latest biotech hub Open Cell, Airbus’ defence and space team, ITV’s daytime shows, and one of the world’s biggest advertising firms, Publicis Media.
“Our industrial strategy has created more 21st century jobs in the borough and is helping to make H&F one of the next big tech powerhouses in the country,” said Cllr Andrew Jones, H&F Cabinet Member for the Economy and the Arts. “We want to make H&F the best place to do business in Europe.”
The council aims to develop H&F into a world-class innovation district with the support of Upstream, which is a brand-new partnership between the council and Imperial College London to make the borough one of the leading destinations for the biotech, creative and digital industries.
Head of Incubation Graham Hewson said: “It is an exciting time in White City for entrepreneurs and start-ups. The success of The White City Incubator in its first 18 months underlines Imperial’s commitment to supporting innovation and enabling the great ideas of, not only our students and staff but also local White City residents.”
First graduating company
MiNA Therapeutics recently became the first company to graduate from the Incubator.
The biotech firm, founded by professor Nagy Habib whose son Robert is now the CEO, is pioneering a new class of drugs called small activating RNA (saRNA) which will allow the company to treat diseases in entirely new ways by targeting proteins that are undruggable by conventional medicines.
MiNA will soon be moving into bigger facilities on the White City campus.
The council is working with Imperial to anchor at least 20 new spin-out companies in the borough by 2022.
A further two start-ups, which formed part of the Incubator’s shared lab spaces scheme, have also moved into their own Incubator labs.
One of these companies is CustoMem, which was founded by Henrik Hagemann and Gabi Santosa while they were students at Imperial. They are developing a new biomaterial which can capture and recycle hazardous micro pollutants found in industrial wastewater.
Henrik Hagemann, CEO & Co-founder of CustoMem, said: “Building a deep tech startup requires tremendous effort and more than a shed. The Incubator's shared labs provided essential access to high grade, excellently located labs at a crucial time in our development. We’re proud to be part of the community here, and have deep gratitude for the time we’ve spent in the shared lab.”
Other innovative companies at the Incubator include Polymateria, which is developing additives for plastic products and packaging that cause them to biodegrade over time, and ThinAir, which is producing innovative bio-membranes that can collect water from the air.
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