Monday, 29 April 2013
The taskforce set up to assure the future of the Alderley Park site in Cheshire held its first meeting on Friday, attended by George Osborne MP.
The taskforce, which was established following AstraZeneca’s announcement that its R&D facilities will be relocated to Cambridge as part of a £330 million investment in the UK, used the meeting to reinforce its aim of sustaining high value employment and investment to support the local and regional economy beyond 2016.
The group is chaired jointly by Chris Brinsmead, Government’s Life Sciences Adviser and Clive Morris, AstraZeneca Vice President, Head of New Opportunities Innovative Medicines Unit. It involves a small core membership of local partners to ensure the discussions are locally-driven and focused on delivery. The members are:
- Christine Gaskell, Chair, Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership
- Councillor Michael Jones, Leader, Cheshire East Council
- Sir Richard Leese, Leader, Manchester City Council
- David Rutley, Member of Parliament for Macclesfield
- John Stageman, Chair, BioNow
- Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, President and Vice Chancellor, Manchester University and Non-Executive Board member, AstraZeneca
The group will focus on assessing sustainable business models for the future of Alderley Park, encouraging investment and employment opportunities for the local economy and wider region. Wherever possible, the taskforce will seek to capitalise and build on the existing local bioscience expertise and supply chain, as well as the facilities available at the Alderley park site to maintain the growth of the existing vibrant life-science business cluster in the North West region. It will also work to understand and address the additional support needs of affected staff, alongside the support being provided by AstraZeneca.
Chris Brinsmead said: “In order to plan for the future we must first understand the real impact of the changes at Alderley Park at local and regional level. This will help us to identify and assess options for future use of the site. I have been encouraged by the quality of the discussion in this first taskforce meeting and feel confident that the members will be able to work together to bring new investment, enterprise and employment opportunities into the area.”
Clive Morris said: “We have been pleased by the willingness we’ve seen among our stakeholders to get involved in the taskforce and to take an active role in shaping the future of the Alderley Park site. Through our continuing presence at Alderley Park, Macclesfield and our MedImmune vaccine manufacturing facility in Speke, AstraZeneca has a strong interest in sustaining the bioscience expertise that sits within the North West. We look forward to working with our colleagues on the taskforce to support this aim and to ensure the site remains a vibrant location for bioscience into the future.”
The taskforce has been set up for an initial period of one year and will provide regular updates as plans progress over the coming months.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
About the Taskforce
On 18 March 2013 AstraZeneca announced its intention to establish a new global R&D centre and corporate headquarters in Cambridge in the UK by 2016. Under the proposals, AstraZeneca confirmed that research and development work will no longer be carried out at the Alderley Park site, which today houses around 2,900 employees. Approximately 1,600 roles will relocate from Alderley Park over the next three years, and at least 700 non-R&D roles are expected to remain at the site.
In line with this announcement The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills agreed with AstraZeneca and local leaders that a taskforce would be established to coordinate work to support Alderley Park staff and the local and regional economy during the transition.
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, inflammation, autoimmune, oncology, infection and neuroscience diseases. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit: www.astrazeneca.com.