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AstraZeneca picks location for global HQ and research base

Decides on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus in UK

Cambridge Biomedical Campus
Cambridge Biomedical Campus

Three months after announcing its intention to move its corporate headquarters from London to Cambridge, AstraZeneca (AZ) has picked a location for its new base.

The pharma company will set up its new home at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, which will also accommodate the company's new UK global research and development centre after downsizing at its research facility at Alderley Park in Cheshire.

According to the company, its new £330m facility at the 70-acre site will occupy 11 acres and be completed by 2016, when it will employ about 2,000 people.

The site will also be the UK base of AZ's biologics arm MedImmune, which has existing functions near Cambridge at Granta Park where it employs about 500 people.

Pascal Soriot, who has instigated wholesale changes to AZ's research strategy since stepping in as CEO last year, commented that the move was based on the city's reputation as a “respected innovation hub for life sciences”.

“Moving to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus means our people will be able to rub shoulders with some of the world's best scientists and clinicians carrying out some of the world's leading research,” he said.

The Campus was set up in 1962 when Addenbrooke's Hospital and the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology moved outside Cambridge city centre.

Since then, the site has expanded, attracting such organisations as the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mental Health Trust, as well as six more MRC units.

The site is working with the Liberty Property Trust and Countryside Properties to attract more commercial organisations as part of its '2020 vision' and to help its cause is creating a further 70 acres to build on, a 121-acre country park and 4,000 new houses in the nearby area.

“AstraZeneca's decision highlights the benefits of co-locating alongside the world-renowned academics and clinicians based at the diverse research centres and hospitals around the site,” said Jeanette Walker, Liberty and Countryside's project director.

“Whilst it is possible to have successful collaborations at arms' length, there is no substitute for conducting discussions face-to-face on a routine basis,” she added.

In addition to the UK facility, AZ has plans to establish global collaborative R&D centres in the US and Sweden as part of CEO Soriot's three-year plan to boost research productivity to help the company overcome several major pipeline failures and patent losses.

Article by
Thomas Meek

18th June 2013

From: Research

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