AstraZeneca to invest £450m in Liverpool site

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has outlined plans to invest £650 million in the UK in a major boost for the UK’s life sciences sector.

AstraZeneca intends to invest £450 million at its manufacturing site in Speke, Liverpool for the research, development, and manufacture of vaccines – building on the site’s current role in supplying the childhood vaccination programme.

AstraZeneca and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) plan to work in partnership to advance science for developing and evaluating vaccines – using technology from both AstraZeneca’s manufacturing site in Speke and the UKHSA’s Vaccine Development Evaluation Centre (VDEC) at its Porton Down site.

AstraZeneca will also expand its presence at Europe’s largest life sciences cluster in Cambridge with £200 million in investment.

The facility will house around 1,000 employees and will be adjacent to its £1.1 billion global R&D Discovery Centre (DISC), which already hosts 2,300 researchers and scientists.

AstraZeneca will also open a new manufacturing facility for one of its cancer medicines in Macclesfield later this year, following the announcement of a £380 million investment in 2021.

UK chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “To drive investment we’ve delivered one of the most competitive business tax regimes of any major economy, as part of our plan to help our key industries to grow. Our £108 billion Life Sciences sector provides over 300,000 high skilled jobs across the UK and is crucial for the country’s health, wealth and resilience.

“We are sticking to our plan to make the UK one of the best places in world to invest in developing and manufacturing new, innovative medicines – both protecting public health and growing our economy. AstraZeneca’s investment plans are a vote of confidence in the attractiveness of UK as a Life Sciences superpower and strengthen our resilience for future health emergencies.”

AstraZeneca CEO 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.

“This year marks 25 years since the merger of UK-based Zeneca Group and Swedish Astra AB. We are proud of our British roots and how far we have come over that time – we are now a truly global company that has transformed the lives of millions of patients throughout the world with a relentless focus on science and innovation.”

Isabel Oliver, Chief Scientific Officer at UKHSA, said: “This investment will bolster the development of the UK’s vaccine capabilities and life sciences sector – critical components of the country’s resilience to future health threats.

“UKHSA majors on researching and developing new ways to strengthen the country’s defences against all health hazards – including future pandemics – and works routinely with a range of commercial and academic partners. We are looking forward to working with AstraZeneca to collectively protect the population’s health.”