GSK to set up biotechnology centre

GlaxoSmithKline is partnering with the UK government and the Wellcome Trust to develop a biotechnology science park located at the pharmaceutical company’s Stevenage site.


GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is partnering with the UK government and the Wellcome Trust to develop a biotechnology science park located at the pharmaceutical company’s Stevenage site.



The funding for the park, which is estimated at £38m, is being led by East of England Development Agency (EEDA).



GSK claims that the park could be an international hub for early-stage biotechnology companies. It is hoped that the campus will compete with those in Massachusetts, California and North Carolina in the US.



It is anticipated that, when complete, the new centre will be the base for approximately 1,500 scientists. GSK believes that any company located in the park will have shared access to specialist skills, equipment and expertise to stimulate innovation in drug development, increasing the chance of success.



‘The Stevenage Campus will affirm the UK as a global hub for the life-sciences industry,’ said Andrew Witty, chief executive of GSK. ‘It will bring together scientists from around the world, providing them with new access to leading research-and-development facilities. This will foster innovation and accelerate the discovery and development of new medicines.’



Business secretary Lord Mandelson said that the Stevenage Campus represents a huge investment in the future of the UK’s bioscience industry.



‘It will leverage our existing strengths as a world leader in the sector, helping it to grow and reinforcing our international competitiveness,’ he said. ‘And ultimately it will help us build towards a stronger UK economy coming out of the global downturn.’



The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has agreed to provide almost £11.7m and an additional £5m will come from the Technology Strategy Board. GSK will provide land, facilities and investment totalling almost £11m. The Wellcome Trust will provide almost £6m and the EEDA will provide £4m.