Two years after its launch, the Unit DX science incubator in St Philips is full and two more follow on sites are being planned.

The 37 startups in Unit DX have raised over £20m in funding for quantum, materials science, chemistry and bioscience technologies, leading to the plans for Unit DY and Unit DZ.

“Bristol is unlocking much more of its outstanding research base now that the right investment, facilities and support are in place,” said
Dr Harry Destecroix, CEO at Unit DX (above). “We all have a responsibility to make sure that the resources and lab space are available to maintain this growth and provide even more jobs for Bristol’s scientists.”

Unit DX, based in St Philips, has recently reached 100 per cent occupancy and is now home to over 100 jobs across 37 science and engineering companies, many of which are either linked to, or spin-outs of the University.

Science outreach programmes organised by Unit DX with volunteers from the University of Bristol have now welcomed over 1,000 schoolchildren.

“The shift in approach to commercialisation and partnerships in Bristol over the past two years has been palpable,” said Nishan Canagarajah, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise at the University of Bristol. “The University has seen a step change in the number of academics interested in the spin-out route, and we look forward to working with Unit DX to increase the facilities on offer for science companies in the city.”

One of the first companies to move into the incubator was Ziylo, a University of Bristol spin-out whose struggle to find lab space inspired the creation of Unit DX. In 2018, Ziylo was acquired by Novo Nordisk in a staged deal worth a potential $800 million. Some of the former Ziylo shareholders have gone on to make seed stage investments in over 10 Bristol science companies at Unit DX.  The University of Bristol Enterprise Fund and Bristol Private Equity Club have also made significant investments.

More details of Unit DY and Unit DZ will be announced later this year.

Nick Flaherty