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, Sanofi, and Waters Corporation.
Science research and development levels are 5 times higher than the national level, with the Borough accounting for 36.9% of the region’s and 3.3% of the UK’s research and development jobs. In particular, pharmaceutical production is 7 times higher than the national level, employing over 6000 people.
Cheshire East Council recognises the importance of the science sector and this was reflected recently by its commitment to Alderley Park, as part of a public-private sector partnership which will develop and continue 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.
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 7000 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, George Osborne, recently announced that a new £5m Medicine Technologies Catapult Centre is to be established at Alderley Park. The centre will bring together business with researchers with the aim of helping start-ups bring ideas to market.
AstraZeneca currently occupies 100 acres at the Hurdsfield Industrial Estate on the eastern side of Macclesfield, as their second largest global manufacturing operation. 2500 people are currently employed in activities including pharmaceutical development, manufacturing and packaging of tablets, syringes and other products, and ICT.500 R&D staff have recently relocated to the site from the countries former Alderley Park site.
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:-
- Contract Research Organisations
- Healthcare technologies
- Medical devices
Further information can be found on the GM Life Sciences Fund website or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Transforming UK Life Science Sites – A toolkit for action
With the support of George Freeman MP, Minister for Life Sciences, Cheshire East Council has led a group of leaders in the life science sector to collate existing knowledge and expertise of repurposing and growing the UK’s life science sites into a single point of reference for all actors in the life science sector and beyond.
Transforming UK Life Science Sites – A Toolkit for Action (PDF, 2MB) is targeted at both the public and private sectors, and seeks to provide a single first source of information and advice for all those involved in supporting the growth of life science sites in the UK. It shares best practice from case studies; provides key questions and issues to consider; and lists further sources of information and support.
Crucially, the toolkit seeks to provide the information and questions needed to begin conversations between different stakeholders, and provide details of further sources of guidance and support.