BioMalta Life Sciences Park, San Gwann, Malta
The Government of Malta is funding a state-of-the-art life sciences centre, named the BioMalta campus, in San Gwann. The centre is being developed to foster the growth of the country's life sciences industry.
The life sciences centre will provide laboratory space to new as well as existing companies. It will also extend business advisory services, financial incentives and tangible support to companies intending to set up operations.
The development plan of the project was approved by the Malta Environment & Planning Authority in June 2011. Construction of the BioMalta campus is expected to be completed in 2014. The project will create more than 500 jobs by 2019.
Life sciences centre purpose and financing
The BioMalta life sciences centre project was launched in May 2010 by the Finance and Economic Development Ministry. The project is aimed at attracting foreign direct investment into the bio-technology and life sciences sectors of the country.
Malta Enterprise is the government agency responsible for attracting foreign investors and promoting industrial development in Malta.
The project will be completed in two phases. It will form part of a larger biotechnology park proposed to be built in the Sam Gwann Industrial Estate.
The project is estimated to cost €38m ($50m). It is being co-financed by the Government of Malta, Malta Enterprise and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The European Union alone will fund 80% of the project cost.
Location of Malta's state-of-the-art centre
The BioMalta campus is being built over ex-Yorkie and disused VF jeans factories in the San Gwann Industrial Estate. Malta Enterprise also has an office building at the site. The office will be relocated to create space for the BioMalta campus. The existing buildings are being demolished to make way for the construction of the research and development park.
The project site is strategically located in proximity to the University of Malta and Mater Dei Hospital, enabling operating companies to work in collaboration with the university staff and the hospital.
BioMalta campus details
The BioMalta campus will initially consist of four buildings comprising of 10,000m² of laboratory space and 3,500m² of business incubation facilities. There will be 61 lab units, including 11 incubation units.
One of the four buildings will be dedicated for retail, conference and meeting facilities. It will also have food and beverage outlets, exhibition space and an auditorium with 150 to 200 seats capacity. The lab space will be leased to companies involved in biological and chemical research.
The campus is proposed to include wet laboratories designed in accordance with the standards of BS/EN 12128:1998, which suggests the containment levels to be maintained in biotechnology laboratories.
The design of the labs will be modular, so that contracting companies can modify the space arrangement to suit their requirements. The containment level of the labs will be maintained by using ventilation and extraction systems with high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.
Contractors involved and R&D activities
The contract for the design of the campus was awarded to TBA Periti. The foundation stone was laid for the project in February 2013. Construction is expected to be completed by March 2014.
The research laboratories at the BioMalta campus will carry out Containment Level 2 fields of research, which means working with biological agents, hazardous chemicals and genetically modified organisms with a medium level of risk.
Production activities at the San Gwann-based BioMalta facility
The BioMalta campus will be involved only in research and development activities. Malta Enterprise plans to set up a similar facility near the campus to attract biotechnology manufacturers to the country.
The clinical and translational research centre (CTRC) was inaugurated in September 2012. It is located in the University at Buffalo (UB) medical campus in Buffalo, New York.
Bactolac Pharmaceutical's new manufacturing facility in New York, US, is located alongside its existing facility in Hauppauge. Launched in August 2009, the new facility has doubled Bactolac's total facility space and daily production capacity.