Cheshire East sits at the heart of a region that has one of the strongest science and technology clusters in the UK. The strength of the science sector in Cheshire East is manifested through research and education facilities, such as Jodrell Bank, and leading businesses such as AstraZeneca, Sanofi, and Waters Corporation.
Science R&D levels are 5 times higher than the national level, with the Borough accounting for 36.9% of the region’s and 3.3% of the UK’s R&D jobs. In particular, pharmaceutical production is 7 times higher than the national level, employing over 6000 people.
Cheshire East Council recognises the importance of the science sector and this was reflected recently by its commitment to Alderley Park, as part of a public-private sector partnership which will develop and continue to run the park as a leader in the field of life sciences.
The Council has already seen great success in:
- securing the international headquarters of the SKA (Square Kilometre Array) project at Jodrell Bank, which will deliver an additional 200 jobs on site.
- working closely with partners in Greater Manchester and the Cheshire and Warrington LEP to secure significant funding for the creation of a £42 million investment fund for Life Sciences.
- exploring strategic options for increasing employment opportunities at AstraZeneca’s global manufacturing site in Macclesfield.
AMR Centre of Excellence
According to the Government’s Five Year AMR Strategy (2013-2018), there are few public health issues of greater importance than anti-microbial resistance (AMR). The AMR Centre of Excellence will catalyse the delivery of this strategy by leading a wide spectrum of activity, from research and development of new therapies to the development of new public policy and clinical practice approaches.
With a multi-partner infrastructure, key stakeholders include Dr Pete Jackson, Chairman of Redx Pharmaceuticals, and Dame Nancy Rothwell, University of Manchester. The centre draws upon the existing strength of the North West in this field, underpinned by world class facilities and equipment, to address current capacity gaps and fast track responses to this priority issue.
In 2015, the Chancellor announced his support for the development of the multi-million pound centre of excellence at the heart of the Cheshire Science Corridor, with an initial £4m investment. The partnership is working closely with ministers to finalise the funding and further develop the proposals with partners across the region at Alderley Park to spearhead research into anti-microbial resistance (AMR).
Based in Alderley Park, the Centre’s work on the development of new drugs and antibiotics is part of the global campaign to discover more effective treatments and anti-infectives.
As a major strategic employment site within Cheshire East, Alderley Park is of paramount importance to the local economy and plays a pivotal role in the wider North West science ecosystem.
In March 2014 the site was sold to Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) who plan to invest c. £107m over a 10 year period to improve the site; repurpose existing buildings to make them suitable for multi-occupancy; and invest in the improvement of key assets to retain the site’s world class R&D capabilities. It is anticipated that this investment will secure 7000 jobs on the site. AstraZeneca will continue to retain 700 staff on the site.
In February 2015, the Council’s Cabinet approved the adoption of the Alderley Park Development Framework, which seeks to pro-actively guide any future development on the site.
At the heart of the site is the BioHub incubator which provides high quality lab and office incubation space to life science SMEs. Since its launch in 2013, the BioHub has become home to over 120 companies employing over 400 people.
The Chancellor, George Osborne, recently announced that a new £5m Medicine Technologies Catapult Centre is to be established at Alderley Park. The centre will bring together business with researchers with the aim of helping start-ups bring ideas to market.
AstraZeneca currently occupies 100 acres at the Hurdsfield Industrial Estate on the eastern side of Macclesfield, as their second largest global manufacturing operation. 2500 people are currently employed in activities including pharmaceutical development, manufacturing and packaging of tablets, syringes and other products, and ICT.500 R&D staff have recently relocated to the site from the countries former Alderley Park site.
The company is currently investing £120m in high-technology manufacturing at the site, securing the future of a unique capability in aseptic manufacture. The site is the home of the $1bn oncology product, Zoladex, which is supplied to all markets. Products from the site are distributed to 130 global markets and are estimated to account for 1% of the UK’s exports.
The site’s significance in terms of high value employment and productivity makes it of both local and national importance.
Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund
The Greater Manchester and Cheshire Life Sciences Fund is a seed and early stage venture capital fund investing in a range of life science businesses across all stages of development, from initial market research and concept development through to product/services launch and manufacturing.
The Fund has been created by the Council in partnership with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Cheshire and Warrington LEP, and Manchester Science Partnerships.
With contributions from both private and public sector partners, the size of the fund at first close is £30m and significant additional private sector investment is expected over the next 12 months. The Fund Manager, Catapult Ventures, has ambitions to increase the size of the fund to c.£60m, creating one of the UK’s largest early stage life science funds.
The fund will invest in ‘Life Science’ businesses which include the following sectors:-
- Contract Research Organisations
- Healthcare technologies
- Medical devices