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AZ invests £120m in UK cancer drug production

New facility in Macclesfield to manufacture Zoladex will retain 300 jobs
AstraZeneca_AZ_Alderley_Park 

The Alderley Park site

AstraZeneca (AZ) is investing £120m (€143m) in a new cancer production facility at its Macclesfield, Cheshire site in the UK, despite moving ahead with plans to transfer most of its UK operations away from its nearby Alderley Park location.

The new building in Macclesfield, Cheshire will focus on the production of prostate cancer treatment Zoladex (gosrelin), which has annual sales of around $1bn.

Zoladex has been manufactured in Macclesfield for more than 25 years and AZ said the new investment would secure 300 jobs at the site, which has faced considerable uncertainty since significant cutbacks were announced in March and plans unveiled to move the bulk of its UK operations from Alderley Park to Cambridge.

At the time of this announcement AZ said that there would be about 600 redundancies among Alderley Park's 2,900 employees, while 1,600 roles would be relocated south by 2016.

The latest investment is a more positive note for life sciences in the north west of England, with AZ also expecting 200 temporary jobs to be created at Macclesfield during the construction of the new facility over the next three years.

The UK's chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne welcomed the announcement, stating it was  “real vote of confidence in East Cheshire”.

He said: “This investment could have gone anywhere around the world - the fact it has come to Macclesfield shows what a superb site it is.”

Osborne also referenced the host of biotech companies that have taken up residence in Alderley Park as part of a BioHub launched by AZ after it announced its intention to move its operations from the area.

“It comes on top of the hundreds of new jobs being created on the Alderley Park site by new business after the difficult news there earlier this year,” said Osborne.

The news will be especially welcomed by the UK Government, considering the recent spate of pharma cutbacks. These include likely job cuts at Shire and the announcement that Novartis is considering the future of its Horsham facility.

AZ also announced recently that it intends to close its environmental laboratory in Devon, cutting 71 positions.

Article by
Thomas Meek

11th November 2013

From: Sales

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