AstraZeneca to move HQ to Cambridge, scale back iconic Alderley Park site

AstraZeneca has announced plans to relocate its corporate headquarters to a purpose-built site in Cambridge, which will also host one of its three global R&D centres. This will happen by 2016, and will result in the closure of the company’s London HQ and a significant scaling back of operations at its Alderley Park R&D site in Cheshire.

The dramatic reduction in activity at Alderley Park, an iconic site in UK pharmaceuticals, is reminiscent of Pfizer’s decision to close its Sandwich site, which was announced in 2011. The move also comes only 6 months after AZ won a £5m government investment from the UK’s Regional Growth Fund to develop a bioscience cluster at Alderley Park.

£330m will be invested in developing the new site. Around 1600 jobs at Alderley Park will move to Cambridge along with most of the 350 jobs currently in London. Around 700 UK jobs will be lost, with another moving to sites in other countries. Alongside its thriving bioscience community, Cambridge is also home to several significant CROs, and is a key location for managing clinical research.

Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, AstraZeneca said: “Cambridge, which boasts strong links with London-based research institutions, is a world-renowned bioscience hotspot. I believe that the investment we are announcing greatly increases the chances that the next generation of innovative medicines will be invented and manufactured in Britain. I recognise that our plans will have a significant impact on many of our people at our sites in Cheshire and London and the surrounding communities. We are fully committed to treating all our employees with respect and fairness as we navigate this period of change.”

Are you affected by this move? Do you have opinions about what it means for the diversity of UK clinical R&D? Let ClinDev know what you think…

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