U+I and Open Cell to bring shipping container biolabs to Shepherd’s Bush Market

Shipping container biolabs are going to be introduced at Shepherd’s Bush Market.

Regeneration firm U+I and workspace provider Open Cell are behind the venture, after the companies teamed up with the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and innovation accelerator SynbiCITE to bring the workspace to Old Laundry Yard.

In what Open Cell is calling a first for the capital, phase one of the lab scheme will create 20 low-cost startup studios housed in shipping containers. It is hoped innovators and entrepreneurs will use the space to build, test and demonstrate biotech-focused innovations.

Helene Steiner, co-founder of Open Cell, said she conceived the idea while working in Microsoft Research and moonlighting as a lecturer at the Royal College of Art, where she taught biodesign alongside Dr Thomas Meany from the biotechnology department at Cambridge University.

She said: “There is little or no infrastructure available to help talented scientists, designers and early stage biotech businesses to take their concepts to the next stage.

“Open Cell is a meeting place for anyone in the sciences or design disciplines to contribute to the burgeoning biotech sector in London. We are delighted U+I embraces our vision and is providing space for our first hub.”

Richard Upton, deputy CEO at London- and Manchester-based U+I, commented: “For the past 18 months we have been working closely with the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and the market traders at Shepherd’s Bush to modernise this fine London Market whilst retaining its treasured history and sense of identity.

“Careful listening to the community reveals a real appetite for positive change and we have made some subtle interventions that have started to increase footfall and diversity again.”

Old Laundry Yard launched earlier this year and is currently home to a raft of food and drink businesses.