AstraZeneca reveals designs for new Global R&D Centre and Corporate Headquarters in Cambridge, UK

Saturday, 18 July 2014

AstraZeneca today revealed the proposed designs for its new Global R&D Centre and Corporate Headquarters in Cambridge in the UK. The plans for the new facility, which will be located on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC), include designs for the Global Centre, an R&D Enabling Building and an Energy Centre1.

Key features of the site include:

  • Science at the heart – the high technology labs on the site will be separated from other work spaces by glass walls to promote ‘visible science’, ensuring scientific innovation is the primary focus for all staff, both in R&D and other functions.
  • Fostering collaboration –the site will feature a number of open spaces and thoroughfares to encourage collaboration not only within AstraZeneca, but also with the wider scientific community within the CBC and beyond.
  • Reflecting the character of the City – the unique characteristics of Cambridge’s historic centre have influenced the shape of the buildings. The site will be low rise and will include a central courtyard reflecting the colleges of Cambridge University.
  • An environmental build –AstraZeneca is seeking Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEAM) Excellent status for the site, which will feature labs that represent best practice in low energy design and the largest ground source heat pump in Europe. “Green Roofs” will also be installed across the majority of the site.

Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, Innovative Medicines & Early Development at AstraZeneca said: “We are very excited to be able to reveal the plans for our new site in Cambridge today. Our aim is to create an open, welcoming and vibrant centre that will inspire our teams and partners to push the boundaries of scientific innovation.”

The new site will bring together AstraZeneca’s small molecule and biologics research and development activity, opening up opportunities to exploit the promise of biologics and small molecule combinations. The CBC will be the new UK home for biologics research and protein engineering carried out by MedImmune, AstraZeneca’s biologics arm. MedImmune already employs around 500 people at Granta Park, to the south east of the city.

“With our combined AstraZeneca and MedImmune portfolios we are already uniquely positioned to explore the promise of combination therapies in transforming the way patients are treated,” said Dr. Bahija Jallal, Executive Vice President, MedImmune. “Our new Global Research Centre in Cambridge will see AstraZeneca and MedImmune scientists working side by side to advance science in our core therapeutic areas. This will support and strengthen our focus on combining the expertise across our business to develop new ways to treat patients and tackle the significant unmet need that exists in areas such as oncology.”

Stefan Marbach, Senior Partner at Herzog & de Meuron, the architects selected to design the new site in Cambridge, said: “In designing the new building we made reference to the historical colleges in central Cambridge, which are typically low-rise buildings enclosing a central courtyard. The building's proportions draw on this, as well as the open public access to the courtyard. The whole structure is connected in a single loop, providing short connections within the building and modern, innovative workspaces that support collaborative working. The ‘saw-tooth’ roof, which carries on through to the facade, aims to unify the appearance of the building and give it a distinctive character.”

In advance of the new site coming online in late 2016, around 70 AstraZeneca staff have already relocated to interim facilities in Cambridge, at the Melbourn Science Park, Cambridge Science Park and Granta Park. By the end of 2014 approximately 300-400 AstraZeneca staff will have relocated to the city, to cement important relationships with other members of the Cambridge life science community.

Mene Pangalos continued: “As we carry on our work to get the new site up and running, our focus is on continuing to build important relationships with partners in the local bioscience community. With up to 400 staff relocating to the city by the end of the year, and with the range of exciting collaborations we have underway, Cambridge is already an important part of our innovation footprint here in the UK alongside our sites in the North West, which will continue to be important elements of our UK presence.”

Recent collaborations AstraZeneca has entered into in Cambridge include:

  • In May 2014 AstraZeneca announced its intention to collaborate with the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology to fund a range of pre-clinical research projects, aimed at better understanding the biology of disease.
  • In March 2014 AstraZeneca and the MRC announced the creation of the AstraZeneca MRC UK Centre for Lead Discovery, which will sit within the new AstraZeneca site at the Cambridge Biomedical Campus and see AstraZeneca and MRC-supported researchers working side-by-side.
  • In February 2014 AstraZeneca entered into a collaboration with the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, to locate up to 60 of the Company’s scientists in the Institute’s state of the art labs on the CBC over the next three years. The first of AstraZeneca’s scientists have already moved into the Cambridge Institute labs.

Designs for AstraZeneca’s new site are being made available today as part of a public consultation2 for the local community, ahead of submission of a detailed planning application in Autumn 2014. AstraZeneca expects to begin the build of the new site in early 2015.

Hi-res images of the site plans are available at the AstraZeneca photo library.


1The R&D Enabling Building will house functions that support AstraZeneca’s scientific work, including regulatory affairs and commercial units. The Energy Centre will support the entire site and will contain power generators, heating and cooling systems as well as other support systems such as IT and telecommunications.

2The designs for the new site will be made available to the public at a viewing taking place between 15:30 on Friday 18 July and 20:30 on Saturday 19 July at the Long Road Sixth Form College on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

AstraZeneca’s presence in the UK

AstraZeneca has a long history in the UK, and continues to contribute to the UK economy through employment, investment in the business and innovation in the life sciences sector:

  • AstraZeneca directly employs 6,700 staff and supports 30,000 jobs through secondary employment in the UK.
  • In 2011 AstraZeneca contributed £3.8 billion total Gross Value Added to the UK economy and in 2012 the Company accounted for 1.8% (£5.4 billion) of the total UK export of goods.
  • In March 2013 AstraZeneca announced the investment of approximately £330 million in a purpose-built R&D centre and corporate headquarters in Cambridge in the UK.
  • In November the Company announced an investment of £120 million to continue production of Zoladex at its manufacturing facility in Macclesfield in the North West of England, which secured 300 existing jobs at the site and is expected to create over 200 temporary jobs between now and early 2017.
  • AstraZeneca is investing more than £75 million in its manufacturing site in Speke, Merseyside, to supply the UK Government’s extended flu vaccination programme for children.
  • AstraZeneca currently has 200 active collaborations with UK academic, research-funding and charitable organisations.
  • Nearly 70% of AstraZeneca’s pipeline was discovered in the UK, has its IP registered in the UK or is being developed by UK teams.

About AstraZeneca

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:


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