Alderley Park’s position as a key asset in the North of England has been underlined by confirmation that it is to be the interim home for the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute.
The Institute is taking circa 81,000 sq ft of laboratory and office space in an agreement that will see over 300 scientists conduct research and development activity from a site that already has an international reputation for breakthroughs in oncology.
The move follows the fire on 26th April this year at the Institute’s long-standing home, the Paterson Building, which is on the site of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester. The huge blaze resulted in significant damage and loss of some valuable equipment and research.
The Institute will be located within the Mereside campus at Alderley Park, part of Manchester Science Partnerships, which also has campuses at Manchester Science Park and Citylabs.
CRUK Manchester Institute is a leading cancer research organisation within The University of Manchester and is funded by Cancer Research UK. Its activity spans the whole spectrum of cancer research, from programmes investigating the molecular and cellular basis of cancer to those focused on translational research and the development of therapeutics. The Paterson Building also housed a number of other cancer research teams from The University of Manchester, some of whom will also be relocating to Alderley Park alongside the Institute.
The deal has been facilitated by Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) and its majority shareholder, Bruntwood, which is currently delivering a £160 million programme of development for the Park. It has also been supported by AstraZeneca which retains laboratory facilities at the Park that they have made available to CRUK.
The cancer researchers will be joining what is already one of the largest life science communities in Europe. Alderley Park is home to a vibrant ecosystem that includes 150 companies, two specialist funds and a dedicated incubator. It is also the headquarters of the AMR Centre, the UK organisation working to combat the global health crisis around antibiotic resistance, and the Medicines Discovery Catapult, set up by Innovate UK to better enable commercial drug discovery in the UK.
Dr Chris Doherty, Managing Director of Alderley Park, said: “We recognise the incredibly important research conducted by the CRUK Manchester Institute and our team has prioritised helping them through this challenging period.
“We are justly proud of the collaboration and patient-first thinking that exists within our region. If you want to be near The Christie, and the academic and healthcare community within Greater Manchester our location is ideal. Alderley Park itself has long been a world class R&D facility and is at the business end of the government’s industrial strategy for life science. It’s not just about bricks and mortar - what we have here is a community of like-minded innovators and scientists. We are delighted to have been able to find a solution that enables this life-saving research to continue.”
Professor Richard Marais, Institute’s Director, said: “We are grateful to everyone at Alderley Park for making us feel welcome and for helping expedite our move. While being able to return to our original site at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust remains our priority, we are delighted to be able to continue our vital research in the world-class facilities at Alderley Park and look forward to the development of new relationships and collaborations that this move will bring.”
He added: “Alderley Park provided a temporary home within days of the incident, with many of our scientists working out of offices at the site. In early June, part of the Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology (CEP) group, led by Professor Caroline Dive, also moved into a laboratory to set up their Early Detection Biomarker Laboratory which is working towards the development of liquid biopsies for diagnosing cancer at an earlier stage. We shall soon have the full complement of our team reunited at Alderley Park and this agreement gives us a period of certainty and everything we need on one site in terms of our scientific facilities.”
Mene Pangalos, AstraZeneca’s Executive Vice President, IMED Biotech Unit and Global Business Development, said: “I’m proud of the way AstraZeneca has worked together with the Alderley Park team to support our science colleagues at the CRUK Manchester Institute. We are delighted to have helped them continue to make a difference to patients, science and the North West.”
The CRUK Manchester Institute move follows that of Concept Life Sciences, one of the UK’s fastest growing drug discovery, research and analytical services businesses, which established a new operating base for 75 scientists at Alderley Park in September. Earlier this year Evotec AG relocated its UK operations to the site, in the process making it the headquarters of one of its key businesses, Cyprotex.