Cheshire science corridor

Cheshire East sits at the heart of a region that has one of the strongest science and technology clusters in the UK. The strength of the science sector in Cheshire East is manifested through research and education facilities, such as Jodrell Bank, and leading businesses such as AstraZeneca, Recipharm, and Waters Corporation.

Scientific research and development accounts for 1% (2,000) of the Borough’s jobs, an estimated 2.5 times higher than the national level, with the Borough accounting for 20% of the region’s and 1.6% of the UK’s research and development jobs.  In particular, pharmaceutical production employment is 15 times higher than the national level, and an estimated 37.5% of the region’s and 7.7% of the UK’s pharmaceutical production jobs are located in the Borough.

Cheshire East Council recognises the importance of the science sector and this was reflected by its commitment to Alderley Park, as part of a public-private sector partnership which continues to run the park as a leader in the field of life sciences.

The Council has already seen great success in:

  • securing the international headquarters of the SKA (Square Kilometre Array) project at Jodrell Bank, which will deliver an additional 200 jobs on site.
  • working closely with partners in Greater Manchester and the Cheshire and Warrington LEP to secure significant funding for the creation of a £42 million investment fund for Life Sciences.
  • exploring strategic options for increasing employment opportunities at AstraZeneca’s global manufacturing site in Macclesfield.

Alderley Park

As a major strategic employment site within Cheshire East, Alderley Park is of paramount importance to the local economy and plays a pivotal role in the wider North West science ecosystem.

In March 2014 the site was sold to Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) who plan to invest c. £107m over a 10 year period to improve the site; repurpose existing buildings to make them suitable for multi-occupancy; and invest in the improvement of key assets to retain the site’s world class R&D capabilities. It is anticipated that this investment will secure 7,000 jobs on the site. AstraZeneca will continue to retain 700 staff on the site.

In February 2015, the Council’s Cabinet approved the adoption of the Alderley Park Development Framework, which seeks to pro-actively guide any future development on the site.

At the heart of the site is the BioHub incubator which provides high quality lab and office incubation space to life science SMEs. Since its launch in 2013, the BioHub has become home to over 120 companies employing over 400 people.

The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, recently reiterated the Governments commitment to the establishment of a new £5m Medicine Technologies Catapult Centre at Alderley Park. The centre will bring together business with researchers with the aim of helping start-ups bring ideas to market.

Alderley Park was also given Enterprise Zone status in April 2016, which means that eligible businesses could benefit from up to 100% business rate relief up to a limit of £55,000 per annum and a maximum of £257,000 in any 5 years period.

Further information on the Alderley Park Enterprise Zone, please visit the Cheshire Science Corridor Enterprise Zone webpage.


AstraZeneca currently occupies 100 acres at the Hurdsfield Industrial Estate on the eastern side of Macclesfield, as their second largest global manufacturing operation. 2,500 people are currently employed in activities including pharmaceutical development, manufacturing and packaging of tablets, syringes and other products, and ICT.

The company is currently investing £120m in high-technology manufacturing at the site, securing the future of a unique capability in aseptic manufacture. The site is the home of the $1bn oncology product, Zoladex, which is supplied to all markets. Products from the site are distributed to 130 global markets and are estimated to account for 1% of the UK’s exports.

The site’s significance in terms of high value employment and productivity makes it of both local and national importance.

Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund

The Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund is a seed and early stage venture capital fund investing in a range of life science businesses across all stages of development, from initial market research and concept development through to product/services launch and manufacturing.

The Fund has been created by the Council in partnership with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Cheshire and Warrington LEP, and Manchester Science Partnerships.

With contributions from both private and public sector partners, the size of the fund at first close is £30m and significant additional private sector investment is expected over the next 12 months. The Fund Manager, Catapult Ventures, has ambitions to increase the size of the fund to c.£60m, creating one of the UK’s largest early stage life science funds.

The fund will invest in ‘Life Science’ businesses which include the following sectors:

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Biotechnology
  • Diagnostics
  • Contract Research Organisations
  • Healthcare technologies
  • Medical devices

Further information can be found on praetura ventures or by contacting

Page last reviewed: 13 February 2020