Government says AZ move could trigger UK deals

The UK government believes AstraZeneca’s decision to relocate its corporate headquarters to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus holds a deeper significance for Britain than may initially have been appreciated.

While the scientific rationale can be easily understood given the level of world-leading research being conducted at the campus, the transfer of corporate staff from London to Cambridge represents a major trend reversal.

Dr Mark Treherne, chief executive of UK Trade & Investment’s Life Science Investment Organisation, is convinced that AZ’s decision could be the catalyst for something really special. He told Business Weekly: “AstraZeneca setting up a new global R & D centre on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and co-locating its corporate headquarters there demonstrates their confidence in the Cambridge biotech cluster and the UK as a whole.

“We expect that this decision is likely to attract further multinationals to set up and expand across the UK as they can benefit from the dynamic Life Sciences’ ecosystem that is continuing to improve and leading to the UK becoming the global R & D location of choice.”

Jeanette Walker, who is project director for the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, also urged deeper analysis of AZ’s rationale. She said: “AstraZeneca’s decision to relocate its corporate HQ and its new global R & D centre to the campus has been welcomed by everyone in the Cambridge biomedical cluster.

“Cambridge is well known as a destination for world-leading research so it’s particularly interesting that AstraZeneca chose to relocate its corporate HQ here from London – as well as establishing a research centre.

“This means that their 2,000-strong workforce in Cambridge will include not just highly skilled scientists but also a wide range of corporate HQ functions, which will help to broaden the skills base even further in Cambridge. In my experience, most foreign companies automatically choose London for their UK headquarters so AstraZeneca’s decision may prompt other international companies to consider Cambridge as a location for their corporate HQs.

“The potential impact of AZ’s decision on the workforce in Cambridge is profound. Thousands of people will benefit, both directly in terms of the jobs AstraZeneca will create as well as the impact on the entire supply chain that will include everything from scientific products and services to local taxi firms, hotels, shops and restaurants.”

Not for the first time, the decision of a major corporate on location has been informed by the presence of Cambridge University at the heart of the science & technology cluster.

Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, the university’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “AstraZeneca’s choice is a measure of the world-class environment that Cambridge offers to knowledge-based industries and also reflects AstraZeneca’s commitment to making new discoveries.

“More than 1,500 companies in the Cambridge cluster of hi-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.”

On completion, the campus will have the equivalent population of a small town (upwards of 18,000 people) and a structure comparable in character to an ‘urban village’ with streets, squares, gardens and courtyards symbolising the unique academic nature of Cambridge with its world renowned university and courtyards.

The strategic masterplan for the campus, developed with leading international architect – Allies and Morrison and Devereux Architects – provides a strong urban structure for the campus, underpinning its relationship with Cambridge city centre.

Occupying almost the same area as the university does in the city, the campus will echo the layout of the city streets and the colleges with their courts.

The masterplan sets out a logical pattern of streets and spaces subdividing the campus into a series of plots and spaces for building development. There will be a hierarchy of streets and pedestrian routes, beginning with highly populated streets and public spaces lined with buildings through entrance courtyards, semi-private spaces which adjoin but which are not part of the public routes, to gardens and functional areas belonging to specific buildings.

Sustainability is at the heart of the campus with reduced travel and energy requirements central to the distribution of land uses.

Access to the campus has been significantly enhanced with the opening of two new roads leading to and from the M11 motorway (Addenbrooke’s Road and Francis Crick Avenue). The Cambridgeshire Guided Busway links the campus to the city and northern villages via Cambridge railway station. A new multi-storey car park is currently under construction and a state-of-the-art energy centre is also planned.

Once built, a pivotal Circus will form the physical heart of the campus. Located to the south of the new Laboratory of Molecular Biology building and adjacent to the Forum, it will comprise a large, circular open-air area flanked by buildings housing shops, cafes and public art displays.

The Forum, a development led by Cambridge University Hospitals, will house a private hospital, education centre and a quality hotel with a variety of restaurant, banqueting and conferencing facilities.

The 395,980 sq ft Forum will be developed in collaboration with John Laing Investments with the funding for the £120 million infrastructure project arranged entirely by John Laing with no public capital spent on the project. The key elements of the Forum are a hotel and conference centre (14,724 m2) – a full service high quality hotel with 200 beds and 12 suites; a flexible events space capable of hosting conferences comprising three lecture theatres able to seat approximately 600, 250 and 180 delegates and with the flexibility for all three theatres to be combined into one large open space for 800 delegates.

An education centre (4,300 m2) will house: a) clinical skills laboratories; b) simulation facilities including cadaveric and robotic facilities; (c) seminar rooms; and d) a suite of video conferencing rooms.

A private hospital will be operated by the Ramsay Group, an established healthcare provider with nearly 50 years experience in its core business – the provision of private hospital services.

Work is now complete on a stunning new building for the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB). The entire project is costing in excess of £200 million, paid for in part from the royalties derived from antibody-related work at the LMB. The total usable area is approximately 27,000m2 of fully air-conditioned space on three main floors.

The building is designed to house 440 scientists. Of these, 40 will be in a module occupied by the University of Cambridge which will be populated with groups whose interests complement those of the LMB.

Another module will be reserved for temporary initiatives, in particular to support translational work.The remaining 360 represent about a 10 per cent increase over current LMB numbers.

Since opening its doors in 1983, the Rosie has delivered tens of thousands of babies and earned a reputation as one of the leading maternity hospitals in the country. During that time, Cambridge has grown rapidly and this has placed increasing demands on the maternity and neonatal services.

A three-storey extension to the front of the hospital was completed in June 2012 providing the space and resources required to meet the number of deliveries in the future which is predicted to rise from 5,500 in 2008/09 to 7,500 deliveries in the next 10 years.

The vision for the new, relocated Papworth Hospital is to build a 300-bed, purpose-built hospital with 100 per cent single rooms as well as a research and education institute. The PFI process involves an initial two year phase during which the PFI partner is selected and a further three year phase for construction and commissioning. The estimated cost of the building is approximately £165 million.

After a detailed evaluation of the bids, the two consortia proceeding to the next stage of the procurement process are the Bouygues Consortium comprising Bouygues UK Limited, Ecovert FM Limited; and Skanska comprising Skanska Infrastructure Investment UK Limited, Skanska Construction UK Limited, Skanska Facilities Services, OCS.

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