AstraZeneca outlines investment plans for UK

AstraZeneca plans to invest £450m at its manufacturing site in Speke, Liverpool for the research, development, and manufacture of vaccines.


The investment is part of a £650m package that will see the biopharmaceutical company invest a further £200m into expanding its presence in Cambridge’s life sciences cluster.

In a statement, AstraZeneca CEO Sir Pascal Soriot, said: “AstraZeneca’s planned investment would enhance the UK’s pandemic preparedness and demonstrates our ongoing confidence in UK life sciences. We will continue to support the UK in driving innovation and patient access, building on the strong foundations which have been put in place." 

The company’s Speke facility is planned to work in tandem with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)’s Porton Down site in Salisbury on developing and evaluating vaccines. 

Investment into Cambridge will see the development of a second facility adjacent to AstraZeneca’s £1.1bn global R&D Discovery Centre and the creation of around 1,000 jobs.

The company will also open a new manufacturing facility for one of its cancer medicines in Macclesfield later in 2024, following the announcement of a £380m investment in 2021. 

Commenting on yesterday’s announcement, Justin Wilson, partner and cell & gene therapy sector specialist at Withers & Rogers, said: “This is a major investment which will further vital scientific research at an exciting time when some very promising new medicines are being trialled.

“The UK has a world-leading reputation for life sciences R&D, with strategic hubs such as the Cambridge Biomedical Campus positioning research scientists shoulder to shoulder with clinical centres of excellence, including the world-renowned Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

“AstraZeneca’s investment, as well as increased government support for medical research, will support the delivery of new vaccines and further the development of new cell and gene therapies for patients with rare diseases and hard-to-treat cancers. These therapies have the potential to revolutionise the treatment of diseases for which there is currently no cure.”

In a related development, the chancellor Jeremy Hunt used yesterday’s (March 6, 2024) Spring Budget to announce £45m that will fund medical research to develop new medicines for diseases like cancer, dementia and epilepsy.