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From Cloning 'Dolly the Sheep' to Curing Blindness, Scotland is on the Forefront of Life Science Discoveries

EDINBURGH, Scotland, June 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A revolution in modern medicine is quietly under way in Scotland, which is rapidly emerging as a global leader in regenerative medicine and drug discovery.

Ranked #1 in the world for stem cell research, Scotland recently launched a new stem cell trial to cure corneal blindness, which could result in the development of the first harvest stem cells that restore the sight of millions of people. The revolutionary research, conducted by Advanced Cell Technologies at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, is the first trial of its kind ever to be carried out in the UK.

Scotland is also responsible for many other groundbreaking life science discoveries, including MRI and CAT scanners, the discovery of p53 cancer suppressor gene, world-recognized research in diabetes and cancer, ReNeuron's stem cell trial for stroke patients, and the cloning of "Dolly" the sheep.

More than two dozen Scottish life science companies and research organizations will come together to showcase these discoveries among other recent life science developments at the 2012 BIO International Convention on June 18-21 in Boston.

"Scotland may be small in size, but we're big in bioscience," said Danny Cusick, President, Americas, of Scottish Development International. "Scotland is home to some of the world's leading life science companies and has the largest concentration of animal science-related expertise and more medical research per capita than any other country in Europe."

The University of Dundee and the University of St. Andrews are both ranked among the top 10 best international academic institutions for scientists. Little wonder that the University of Dundee and the Medical Research Council just announced more than $21 million in funding from a consortium of six of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies for continuing research on the development of new drug treatments of major global diseases.

Beyond the universities, Scotland is also investing heavily in infrastructure to support development of its life science sector. Case in point is the expansive new Edinburgh BioQuarter (EBQ), which just celebrated the opening of pioneering bio-medical facilities: The Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine and new bio-incubator building, Nine. The EBQ was designed to foster collaboration between Scottish researchers and global life science companies that is conducive to developing and commercializing new medical discoveries.

Likewise, a former Merck research facility in Scotland's Central Belt between Glasgow and Edinburgh, is being transformed into "BioCity Scotland" to foster the growth of life science and pharmaceutical companies.

Scottish companies are also beginning to attract the notice of venture capitalists and angel funds. Boston-based Morningside Ventures, for example, recently supported Scotland-based NuCana BioMed with Series A funding.

Scotland's medical research expertise is also earning recognition on the West Coast as the country signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the prestigious San Francisco-based Californian Institute of Regenerative Medicine earlier this year, which will enable joint research and collaboration between scientists and companies in Scotland and California.

"Scotland clearly punches above its weight when it comes to life sciences," Mr. Cusick summarized. "There are rich opportunities for investment and collaboration with Scottish companies and universities."

Media Contact: 
Jordan Robinson Agnor 
(212) 444-7140

SOURCE Scottish Development International
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