AstraZeneca’s Updates Plans for New R&D Hub and Corporate HQ

AstraZeneca released an update on its new global R&D center and corporate headquarters in Cambridge, UK. The plans for the new facility, which will be located on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC), include designs for the Global Center, an R&D Enabling Building, and an Energy Center. The R&D Enabling Building will house functions that support AstraZeneca's scientific work, including regulatory affairs and commercial units. The Energy Center will support the entire site and will contain power generators, heating and cooling systems as well as other support systems such as information technology and telecommunications.

The new site will bring together AstraZeneca's small-molecule and biologics research and development. The CBC will be the new UK home for biologics research and protein engineering carried out by MedImmune, AstraZeneca's biologics arm. MedImmune already employs approximately 500 people at Granta Park, to the southeast of the city. In advance of the new site coming on line in late 2016, approximately 70 AstraZeneca staff have already relocated to interim facilities in Cambridge, at the Melbourn Science Park, Cambridge Science Park and Granta Park. By the end of 2014, approximately 300-400 AstraZeneca staff will have relocated to the city.

AstraZeneca also outlined some of the design features and layout of the new site. Designs for AstraZeneca's new site are being made available as part of a public consultation for the local community, ahead of submission of a detailed planning application in the autumn of 2014. AstraZeneca expects to begin the build of the new site in early 2015. The high technology laboratories will be separated from other work spaces by glass walls to promote “visible science, ensuring scientific innovation is the primary focus for all staff, both in R&D and other functions,” said AstraZeneca in a press statement. The site will be low rise and will include a central courtyard reflecting the colleges of Cambridge University. AstraZeneca is seeking Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREAAM) Excellent status for the site, which will feature laboratories that represent best practice in low-energy design and the largest ground-source heat pump in Europe, according to the company. “Green roofs” will also be installed across the majority of the site.

The Cambridge location was chosen as a way to further cultivate partnerships in research and development. Recent collaborations AstraZeneca has entered into in Cambridge include:

  • In May 2014, AstraZeneca announced its intention to collaborate with the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology to fund a range of pre-clinical research projects, aimed at better understanding the biology of disease.
  • In March 2014, AstraZeneca and the MRC announced the creation of the AstraZeneca MRC UK Centre for Lead Discovery, which will sit within the new AstraZeneca site at the CBC with AstraZeneca and MRC-supported researchers working side-by-side.
  • In February 2014, AstraZeneca entered into a collaboration with the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, to locate up to 60 of the company's scientists in the institute's laboratories on the CBC during the next three years. The first of AstraZeneca's scientists have already moved into the Cambridge Institute laboratories.

Source: AstraZeneca

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