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University of Bristol start-ups become first tenants at new Scientific Incubation Centre

25 May 2017

Two companies founded at the University of Bristol have become the first tenants to move into new scientific innovation centre, Unit DX.

This takes place in the same week that the University has signed a partnership agreement with the centre to support its graduates in the commercialisation of research.

The new partnership between the University of Bristol and Unit DX will accelerate the new scientific ecosystem developing in Bristol, supporting University researchers in their efforts to convert elements of its world class research into new scientific jobs for the city and its graduates.

Unit DX is located in St Philips, an area that will soon see the addition of the University of Bristol’s Temple Quarter Campus and the Engine Shed 2, as the area becomes a focus for research and development in the South West.

Ziylo, formed in 2014 in the Davis research group, and NuNano, formed in 2011 by Dr James Vicary and Professors Heinrich Hoerber and Mervyn Miles, have become the anchor tenants at the facility.

Chemistry start-up Ziylo moved its team of 10 people into the building from their previous laboratory space at the University of Bristol and their offices at the Easton Business Centre. Their new base will allow them to accelerate their development of potentially life changing sugar monitoring technology, and provide wet lab space for their recently expanded team of chemists.

Johnathan Matlock, Senior Scientist at Ziylo, said: "Ziylo is, first and foremost a synthetic chemistry company and therefore needs high-specification lab space, equipped with fume hoods to successfully achieve our long term objectives. Therefore, the infrastructure and facilities in place at Unit DX have provided a blank canvas and have really allowed Ziylo to tailor the laboratory space to our requirements.

"In short, establishing Ziylo’s long term future as an SME is only possible thanks to the lab space solution provided by Unit DX."

NuNano specialises in the design and manufacture of probes for atomic force microscopy and other cantilever-based sensor devices. Founded with the vision of developing new manufacturing methods for these devices that are used for the nanoscale characterisation of materials. The company is moving its sales and management functions from the Engine Shed to Unit DX.

James Vicary, Co-founder and Managing Director at NuNano said: "I was excited to hear of the development of the scientific facilities at Unit DX and am delighted to be able to move our offices into the building as we continue to grow our business. The space will allow us to continue our close ties with the University Of Bristol and SETsquared."

Unit DX has been working closely with the University since the idea for the project was formed in 2015. Having recently completed the building conversion in St Philips, just 10 minutes’ walk from Bristol Temple Meads, this working relationship has now been formalised with an official partnership, and will assist Unit DX in supporting University start-ups and spin outs.

In addition to providing class 2 laboratory space and office facilities, Unit DX will offer incubation programmes for academics as well as established start-ups, which will focus on the challenges specific to scientific companies.

Nishan Canagarajah, Pro Vice-chancellor for Research and Enterprise, said: "I have been working closely with the Unit DX team since the inception of the project in 2015, and I am very pleased to see it already bringing benefits to companies founded at the University, and to the wider scientific community. The building is an excellent asset for the city and we are proud to be able to support it and the enterprises that stem from it."