PLANS for a £1 billion expansion of the BioQuarter healthcare and life sciences complex in Edinburgh have generated interest among potential investors in the project from around the world.

The public sector organisations that developed the BioQuarter enjoyed a strong response after starting the process to find a private sector partner to help deliver the expansion plan.

The proposed expansion will involve the creation of a new health innovation district and residential area by the existing BioQuarter, south of the city centre. The BioQuarter is already home to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh University’s medical school, research facilities and a range of life sciences businesses.

Champions of the expansion plan reckon the enlarged BioQuarter could be worth around £140m a year to the Scottish economy in the next decade. It is expected to employ around 13,000 people and to support the growth of more than 200 health innovation companies

The stakeholders in the BioQuarter aim to recruit a partner that has expertise in areas such as property development and management, health innovation and community impact and commercial and legal skills. This could involve working with a consortium.

They have formally initiated the public procurement process for a private sector partner.

In June last year the partners filed a prior information notice (PIN) alerting the market that they expected to launch a procurement process within 12 months.

A spokesperson for the BioQuarter said hundreds of businesses had expressed interest after the PIN was filed. Representatives of over 150 firms attended an event held for potential  bidders.

The partners in the existing BioQuarter are The University of Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Enterprise and NHS Lothian.

Scottish Government Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise​ Ivan McKee MSP​ said:

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and one of the most exciting investment and collaborative opportunities with far-reaching benefits for investors, local communities and global health innovators alike.”

He added: “A private sector partner will help deliver a globally significant health innovation community of researchers, academics and clinicians and will continue to foster entrepreneurship.”

Mr McKee noted the BioQuarter has benefited from over £600m public capital investment and has played a key role in Scotland’s successes in the life sciences sector.