The first of a 120-strong team of scientists started work this week at a new cancer research and development company that will eventually move into the proposed bio-medical park next to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital.
Redx Oncology is a spin-out from Redx Pharma, an early stage drug development company which launched in the city in 2010 with a mix of public and private backing. Redx Oncology was backed with £5.9m of public money from the Government's Regional Growth Fund. The start-up also received private investment arranged by Acceleris, the Manchester-based corporate finance advisor.
For now Redx Oncology will operate from labs in the University of Liverpool's Duncan Building but will be anchor tenant of the new 70,000 sq ft Liverpool BioInnovation Centre. The building was granted planning permission in March and represents the first phase of the BioCampus, a partnership between the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, the University of Liverpool and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
Derek Lindsay, managing director of Redx Oncology, said: "Liverpool has a highly respected reputation in cancer care. The Liverpool Cancer Research UK Centre along with the University of Liverpool and the Royal Liverpool Hospital provide a rich environment for developing new remedies against cancer. We believe that our new Oncology R&D centre will provide an important new resource in the challenge of improving the patient experiences and outcomes with this disease."
The Redx Oncology team consists of chemists, analytical scientists, biology scientists, administration staff and up to 24 trainees. Many of these new staff are being recruited from outside of the area.
Redx Pharma expects to do its first commercial deals this year. Dr Neil Murray, chief executive of Redx Pharma, says Redx Oncology expects to achieve the same in the second year of operations.
In addition to its cancer portfolio, Redx Pharma has a pipeline of new compounds in several other therapeutic areas. It is progressing programs in the areas of cardiovascular medicine, influenza and antibiotics.