AstraZeneca Selects Location for New Global R&D Centre and Corporate Headquarters in Cambridge, UK
08 Jul 2013

AstraZeneca has announced that its new UK-based global research and development centre and corporate headquarters will be located at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus on the southern outskirts of the city. By 2016, the new site will house a highly-skilled workforce of approximately 2,000.

As announced on 18 March 2013, the investment in a £330 million facility in Cambridge is part of the company’s move to create strategic global R&D centres in the UK, US and Sweden to improve pipeline productivity and to establish AstraZeneca as a global leader in biopharmaceutical innovation.

The purpose-built site in Cambridge will bring together AstraZeneca’s small molecule and biologics research and development activity, opening up opportunities to exploit the promise of small and large molecule combinations. The Cambridge Biomedical Campus will be the new UK home for biologics research and protein engineering carried out by MedImmune, AstraZeneca’s biologics arm. MedImmune already employs around 500 people at Granta Park, to the south east of the city.

The new site will also become the company’s largest centre for oncology research as well as hosting scientists focused on cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, respiratory, inflammation and autoimmune diseases and conditions of the central nervous system. Work carried out in Cambridge will include medicinal chemistry and high-throughput screening and the facility will accommodate a number of AstraZeneca’s pre-clinical research capabilities. Other global functions will join the research and development teams at the new facility and Cambridge will become AstraZeneca’s corporate headquarters.

The Cambridge Biomedical Campus site is a growing and thriving hub for world-renowned biomedical activity. It is home to leading research, academic and healthcare organisations including the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology, the Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science and the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute. The AstraZeneca facility will occupy approximately 11 acres of the 70 acre campus, which benefits from a central Cambridge location and strong infrastructure links.

Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer of AstraZeneca said: “Cambridge competes on the global stage as a respected innovation hub for life sciences and our choice of site puts us at the heart of this important ecosystem, providing valuable collaboration opportunities. 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 – that’s a really exciting prospect. We hope that our move will contribute to the growing success of Cambridge.

“Today’s announcement also confirms AstraZeneca’s long-standing commitment to the UK and increases the chances that the next generation of medicines will be discovered here in Britain.”

David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, said: “AstraZeneca’s investment is excellent news for the UK life sciences industry. It strengthens our global competitiveness and supports our aim of making the UK the best place in the world for the discovery and commercialisation of medical innovations. These are key themes of the Government's life sciences strategy."

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz FRS, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, said: “I am delighted with AstraZeneca’s choice. It is a measure of the world-class environment that Cambridge offers to knowledge-based industries and it reflects AstraZeneca’s commitment to making new discoveries. Over 1,500 companies in the Cambridge cluster of high-tech industries have found that proximity – to the University, to our NHS partners, and to each other – enables productive relationships and stimulates competition. As a global player, AstraZeneca will add tremendously to that environment and we look forward to the creative collaborations that will surely follow.”

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Michelle Maxwell
Drug Discovery Editor