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UK science park created through partnership

GSK joins with UK government and Wellcome Trust to stimulate innovation

The creation of a world-class science park has been announced by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in partnership with the UK government, The Wellcome Trust and the East of England Development Agency (EEDA). The new biotechnology science park will be located at GSK's site at Stevenage.

The project aims to create a world-leading hub for early-stage biotechnology companies. The campus will pioneer a new operating model of open innovation with the aim of strengthening and growing the UK bioscience sector to compete with those in Boston, California and North Carolina in the US.

Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK, said: "The Stevenage Campus will affirm the UK as a global hub for the life sciences industry. It will bring together scientists from around the world, providing them with new access to leading research and development facilities. This will foster innovation and accelerate the discovery and development of new medicines."

Companies locating on the park will have shared access to specialist skills, equipment and expertise to stimulate innovation in drug development. Through knowledge sharing and collaboration, each company will also significantly increase its chance of success. It is anticipated that, when complete, the new centre will be the base for approximately 1,500 scientists.

Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, said: "Innovation drives commercial invention; it pushes up productivity; it is at the heart of growth. And this joint investment by the public, private and charitable sectors recognises that innovation will be decisive in Britain's recovery.

"The Stevenage Campus represents a huge investment in the future of Britain's bioscience industry and is a strong new platform for the work of our Office for Life Sciences. It will leverage our existing strengths as a world leader in the sector, helping it to grow and reinforcing our international competitiveness. And, ultimately, it will help us build towards a stronger UK economy coming out of the global downturn."

Initial funding, of almost £38m, will be provided by a range of stakeholders. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has agreed to provide almost £11.7m through a strategic fund and an additional £5m from the Technology Strategy Board. GSK will provide land, facilities and investment totalling almost £11m. The Wellcome Trust will provide almost £6m and the EEDA will provide £4m.

Richard Ellis, chairman of EEDA, said: "EEDA has been working with GSK for the last 18 months to develop and secure funding.

"Today's announcement strengthens the UK as a world leader in life sciences. It will create new jobs and will enable us to compete on a global stage."

13th October 2009

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