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Redx Pharma to open research centre at AstraZeneca's Alderley Park site

Will focus on hard-to-treat infections

AstraZeneca_AZ_Alderley_Park

Redx Pharma has provided a boost to the hard-hit life sciences industry in Cheshire, UK, announcing its plans to open a research centre focused on infectious conditions at AstraZeneca's (AZ) Alderley Park site.

Earlier this year, AZ announced its intention to make 600 redundancies at the facility, and to relocate a further 1,600 positions to a new R&D centre in Cambridge, which is scheduled to open in 2016.

AZ's plans, which would leave just 700 non-R&D roles in Cheshire, have come under fire from several sides, including the Unite union, which said the move would create a “skills crisis for the local economy”.

The announcement from Redx Pharma provides positive news for the community, however, and the Liverpool-based pharma company said it expects to create 119 science jobs at the site as part of a new venture called Redx Anti-Infectives, while a further 28 jobs are expected to be created within the wider supply chain.

This new venture will focus on hard-to-treat infections, including the drug resistant superbugs, like MRSA, as well as other conditions, such as influenza, hepatitis C and HIV.

Redx Anti-Infectives is supported by £6m in private sector investment, as well as a £4.7m from the UK government's regional growth fund, which supports projects and programmes that are using private sector investment to create economic growth and sustainable employment.

Clive Morris, VP of R&D at AZ, explained that more companies are expected to follow Redx Pharma and move into the Alderley Park site.

“We are delighted to welcome Redx to Alderley Park, which is an important first step in our ambition to secure a sustainable future for the site,” he said.

“We will continue to seek further opportunities to attract other innovation-driven companies and, wherever possible, build on the existing bioscience expertise and world class facilities available at Alderley Park,” he added.

Dr Neil Murray, chief executive of Redx Pharma, said the establishment of Redx Anti-Infectives was part of wider plans for company growth, which includes other businesses such as Liverpool-based Redx Oncology.

He said: “Whilst our headquarters remain in Liverpool and we have ambitious plans to grow our business and create high value science posts in the city, at the same time we recognise that the facilities at Alderley Park are world class and enable us to move quickly in expanding this key new part of our business.”

Meanwhile, the taskforce set up to coordinate work to support Alderley Park staff and the local and regional economy as AZ significantly downsizes its presence at the facility has held its first meeting.

The taskforce will initially run for one year and is chaired jointly by government life sciences adviser - and former AstraZeneca UK chairman - Chris Brinsmead and Clive Morris, who heads up AZ's New Opportunities Innovative Medicines Unit.  

Sitting alongside them will be Christine Gaskell, chair, Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership; Councillor Michael Jones, the leader of Cheshire East Council; Sir Richard Leese, the leader of Manchester City Council; David Rutley, Macclesfield's MP; John Stageman, Chair of BioNow; and Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, president and vice chancellor at Manchester University and a non-executive board member at AZ.  

Clive Morris said: “Through our continuing presence at Alderley Park, Macclesfield and our MedImmune vaccine manufacturing facility in Speke, AstraZeneca has a strong interest in sustaining the bioscience expertise that sits within the North West. We look forward to working with our colleagues on the taskforce to support this aim and to ensure the site remains a vibrant location for bioscience into the future.”

8th May 2013

From: Research

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