Cancer drug firm launched in Dundee

Pictured at today’s launch were minister Keith Brown, Sian Armour, Dr Jane Thompson (both

Ubiquigent) and Sir Philip Cohen.

A new company, backed by American money and tasked with the development of drugs to fight cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, was launched in Dundee today (writes Bruce Robbins).
Ubiquigent Ltd., which will benefit from a £3 million, three-year cash investment from its US parent company Stemgent Inc., will seek to benefit from the world-class research being done at the Scottish Institute for Cell Signalling at Dundee University.The new venture has already created three jobs and this is likely to increase to five this year and possibly 10 next year.

Scottish Government skills and lifelong learning minister Keith Brown, who was taken on a tour of the SCILLS labs today, described the announcement as an “excellent investment” for the city’s — and Scotland’s — life sciences sector.

He said, “Our pioneering research and technology is globally renowned. We have a clear academic lead in this field.

“The Scottish Government is fully committed to growing this sector and maximising the talent.

“This is why we met our manifesto commitment and invested £10 million to establish a life sciences institute in Dundee, the SCILLS unit, and provided £3 million to support the recruitment of up to 100 new apprentices within the life sciences sector last year.

“The world-class talent, skills and technology within the SCILLS unit at the University of Dundee is undoubtedly a huge factor in this move.”

Mr Brown added it would have been good had a Scottish private equity company been willing to provide the £3 million funding that is coming from America but it was a case of changing the investment culture in this country.

SCILLS is directed by Sir Philip Cohen and concentrates on an emerging area of cell signalling called protein ubiquitylation, which is said to have great potential for the development of drugs to treat cancer, inflammatory diseases and autoimmune diseases.

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