GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) announced today that it has entered into a unique partnership with the UK Government, The Wellcome Trust and the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) to develop an innovative new biotechnology science park 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 that should strengthen and grow the UK bioscience sector. It is hoped that this campus, supported by Government, business and academia, will compete with those in Boston, California and North Carolina in the United States.
Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline 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 new 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 1500 scientists.
Speaking about the announcement, 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 for the science park will be provided by a range of stakeholders led by EEDA. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) 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 totaling almost £11m. The Wellcome Trust will provide almost £6m and the EEDA will provide £4m.
Richard Ellis, Chairman of EEDA, said, “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.”
Notes to editors
•The UK is second only to the USA in terms of basic bioscience research and is supported by leading universities, pharmaceutical companies and research institutes located mostly in the South East of England.
•GSK is the largest private sector funder of R&D in the UK, investing approximately £1.3bn in the research and development of new and innovative medicines in the UK in 2008.