GSK's Planned UK Biotech and Life Sciences Hub to Create 5,000 Jobs
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Global health care company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced plans to build a massive campus for biotechnology and early-stage life science companies within its 92-acre research and development site in Stevenage. Master planning for the site is slated to begin in 2022 and will reportedly create one of the largest life sciences cluster in Europe.
In a statement, GSK said that it is currently finding a development partner to transform some 33 acres of land within its R&D site. The company is planning to sell the real estate, intending to generate as much as £400 million in new investment from the interested developer, who will then build a state-of-the-art, life science ecosystem over the next five to 10 years.
If successful, the new campus could attract world-class research organizations to set up shop. It is expected that this move will result in the creation of as many as 5,000 jobs for highly skilled professionals.
As of this writing, the prominent Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and Stevenage Biosciences Catalyst are already on the site and attracted successful start-ups that have collectively raised funding of around £1.6 billion. These organizations were established with the support of GSK and both private and public sector entities.
The new development would be right next to GSK's existing Stevenage location. When completed, it could create around 100,000 square meters of new floor space for commercial life sciences research and development efforts.
"Our goal is for Stevenage to emerge as a top destination for medical and scientific research by the end of the decade. We are excited to find a development partner to realize our vision to foster the next generation of world-class scientists and biotechnology firms in Britain," said Tony Wood, senior vice president for Medicinal Science & Technology at GSK.
Stevenage is one of two global R&D hubs for GSK and already hosts the UK's largest cell and gene therapy cluster. It is also the third-largest in the world.
"I am deeply proud that Stevenage is home to a world-leading life science cluster and welcome plans for a new life sciences campus. This will cement our standing as a leading STEM location within the UK. As we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is vital that we create new, quality jobs and opportunities for our town and our country," Councillor Sharon Taylor OBE, leader of the Stevenage Borough Council, was quoted as saying.
The company's existing R&D site will not be affected by the development plans, which will necessitate the expansion of the public road gyratory to improve access to the location. The Stevenage Development Board, the Hertfordshire LEP, and the LEP Network have also expressed excitement and support for the endeavor.