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AZ unveils plans for new Cambridge HQ

Construction of its Cambridge Biomedical Campus will start early next year
AstraZeneca AZ global R&D corporate HQ

AstraZeneca (AZ) has officially unveiled the designs of its new £330m ($564m) campus in Cambridge, which will serve as the nerve centre for the company when it opens in late 2016.

Construction of the R&D centre and corporate headquarters - called the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC) - is expected to start early next year and once completed will house around 2,000 workers.

The construction project is clearly a flagship investment project for AZ but it also has great symbolic significance for the company, as it was a political touch point when AZ mobilised support for its defense against the £69bn takeover attempt by Pfizer earlier this year.

Local council leaders - who had feared a deal with Pfizer would jeopardise AZ's move to Cambridge - said the investment "is potentially a real prize in securing the future prosperity of Greater Cambridge, building on world class university research and wider local expertise in biomedicine, particularly in cancer research."

The new site brings together AZ's small-molecule and biologics R&D teams - including researchers currently employed at its Medimmune subsidiary - and will open up opportunities to develop combination therapies, according to the company.

AstraZeneca AZ global R&D corporate HQ 

AZ has published a series of artists impressions of the campus, showing design features such as extensive use of glass - even in the laboratory areas - to promote 'visible science', in other words ensuring scientific innovation is "the primary focus for all staff, both in R&D and other functions".

The layout is in a loop and incorporates a number of open spaces and thoroughfares - to stimulate collaboration within the company and with the wider scientific community in the area - while the buildings are designed to be as environmentally-friendly as possible.

The architectural firm behind the designs, Herzog & de Meuron, said the look of the site is intended to be reminiscent of the college buildings in Cambridge, so the main building is low-rise, with a central courtyard, and a saw-tooth roof to "unify the appearance of the building and give it a distinctive character."


Video: Designs for AstraZeneca's new global R&D centre and corporate headquarters in Cambridge, UK

Somewhat fittingly, the main building is designed as a triangle - and, of course, it is sited at one of the corners of the UK's life sciences 'golden triangle', which links Cambridge with Oxford and London.

The publication of the plans for the complex were warmly welcomed by MedCity, an initiative launched earlier this year by London Mayor Boris Johnson to promote innovation and investment in the golden triangle.

"The designs for the new hub demonstrate an open, outward-looking approach that I hope will facilitate collaboration and embed the company firmly in the research community of the golden triangle," said London Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse.

In addition to the Cambridge project, AZ is also investing £120m at its manufacturing facility in Macclesfield and £75m to expand a vaccines plant in Speke.

Article by
Phil Taylor

21st July 2014

From: Research, Sales

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