A new biotechnology innovation centre owned by the Royal Veterinary College is to offer accommodation for up to 20 companies in central London.
The London BioScience Innovation Centre, at the Camden campus of the veterinary school, will offer early-stage biotechnology companies laboratories, associated services, information technology suites and office space on flexible contracts.
The RVC built the innovation centre to commercialise its work. It then decided to champion enterprise by offering space to other academic, early stage spin-offs.
Colin Howard, vice-principal for research at the RVC, said the centre would be the best use of the college space in Camden.
"There has been wholehearted support for the centre from the college. It will encourage colleagues to use the centre to promote their own commercial ventures," he said.
Companies will be able to use college facilities, for which they will pay the RVC direct. College staff will also be encouraged to use the centre, enabling everyone to exchange ideas.
The centre aims to attract companies working in basic research in biology and biotechnology that underpins human and animal medicine, for example work on vaccines.
David Ray, senior consultant at the centre's management company Oxford Innovation, said four firms were poised to take space in the centre, including a spin-off from University College London that is beginning a new area of research. The centre, which opens in April, will provide lab technicians, autoclave services, biological waste disposal and library facilities.