UK pharma giant AstraZeneca today announced plans to build a new global R&D centre - a network of glass-walled laboratories – as part of its £330-million corporate headquarters in Cambridge, UK.
The new facility, which will be located on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC), include designs for the global centre, an R&D enabling building and an energy centre.
The R&D enabling building will house functions that support AstraZeneca's scientific work, including regulatory affairs and commercial units.
The energy centre will support the entire site and will contain power generators, heating and cooling systems as well as other support systems such as IT and telecommunications, the company said in a release.
''The high technology labs on the site 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,'' the release said.
The site will also feature a number of open spaces and thoroughfares to encourage collaboration not only within AstraZeneca, but also with the wider scientific community within the CBC and beyond, it said.
AstraZeneca is seeking an environment-friendly 'Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREAAM) Excellent' status for the site, which will feature labs that represent best practice in low energy design and the largest ground source heat pump in Europe. ''Green Roofs'' will also be installed across the majority of the site.
''We are very excited to be able to reveal the plans for our new site in Cambridge today. Our aim is to create an open, welcoming and vibrant centre that will inspire our teams and partners to push the boundaries of scientific innovation,'' Mene Pangalos, executive vice president, Innovative Medicines and Early Development at AstraZeneca, said.
The CBC will be the new UK home for biologics research and protein engineering carried out by MedImmune, AstraZeneca's biologics arm, which currently employs around 500 people at Granta Park, to the south east of the city.
''With our combined AstraZeneca and MedImmune portfolios we are already uniquely positioned to explore the promise of combination therapies in transforming the way patients are treated,'' said Dr Bahija Jallal, executive vice president, MedImmune.
''Our new Global Research Centre in Cambridge will see AstraZeneca and MedImmune scientists working side by side to advance science in our core therapeutic areas. This will support and strengthen our focus on combining the expertise across our business to develop new ways to treat patients and tackle the significant unmet need that exists in areas such as oncology.''
AstraZeneca has already relocated around 70 of its staff at the Melbourn Science Park to interim facilities in Cambridge Science Park and Granta Park, ahead of the new site coming online in late 2016.
By the end of 2014 approximately 300-400 AstraZeneca staff would have relocated to the city, to cement important relationships with other members of the Cambridge life science community.
Cambridge is already an important part of AstraZeneca's innovation centre and with the range of exciting collaborations underway, up to 400 staff are expected to be relocating to the city by the end of the year.
In March 2014, AstraZeneca and the Medical Research Council (MRC) announced the creation of the AstraZeneca MRC UK Centre for lead discovery at the new AstraZeneca site at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. And, in May 2014, the company announced its intention to collaborate with the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology to fund a range of pre-clinical research projects, aimed at better understanding the biology of disease.
Earlier, in February 2014, AstraZeneca had 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 state of the art labs on the CBC over the next three years.
AstraZeneca's said its scientists have already moved into the Cambridge Institute labs.