GSK, the pharmaceutical giant, plans to open a PS400m science hub at Stevenage. This could lead to up to 5,000 new jobs. Work is expected to start in 2022.
- Plan aims to unlock up to £400 million of new private investment and create up to 5,000 new highly-skilled jobs over next decade
- Stevenage could become one of Europe’s largest ‘clusters’ for biotechnology and other early-stage life science companies
- Vision for campus developed in partnership with Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, UK Government and Stevenage Borough Council; GSK to make 33 acres of land available for development at the company’s R&D site in Stevenage
The company plans to create a cluster of biotech companies, raise money by selling land in Hertfordshire and then develop it into the largest science campus in the country.
This announcement follows AstraZeneca’s announcement of its new PS1bn global headquarters in Cambridge and research centre at Cambridge.
Initial estimates suggest the plan could ultimately deliver:
- up to £400 million of investment in Stevenage from a private sector developer to build out the campus, over 5 to 10 years; and
- depending on finalisation of proposals and planning consent, space for up to 5,000 full time, high-skilled jobs.
The project will begin in 2022 after receiving support from the UK government. GSK is looking for a partner to sell 13.3 hectares in Stevenage. The company hopes to get PS400m from a developer through the sale.
GSK stated that it will transform a third (or 92 acres) of its 37-hectare (92 acres) site with the money to create a potential space of 2.5m sq.ft, subject to planning permission.
“Our goal is for Stevenage to emerge as a top destination for medical and scientific research by the end of the decade,” said Tony Wood, senior vice-president of medicinal science and technology at GSK.
“The past 18 months has shown the UK life sciences sector at its best,” he added.
The firms announced that production of the coronavirus vaccine, which was developed by French firm Sanofi (GSK), will start within weeks.
These two companies are currently in Phase 3, which will see 35,000 volunteers across the US, Asia and Africa receive their coronavirus vaccine.
They will be testing for effectiveness against COVID-19, the original variant that was discovered in South Africa in late 2019, and which has since spread around the globe.
According to a joint statement by Sanofi and GSK, “Manufacturing will start in the coming weeks to allow rapid access to the vaccine should they be approved.”
If the Phase 3 trials prove successful, the Sanofi GSK vaccine could be approved by drug regulators in the last three months of the year.
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