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3 minute read - 11th August 2023

Green light for £900m biotech campus in Stevenage

UBS Asset Management and Reef Group have received approval to create one of Europe’s largest life science campuses in Hertfordshire. The decision from Stevenage Borough Council’s planning committee paves the way for the new life sciences hub to be delivered alongside GSK’s existing global R&D facility and the vibrant ecosystem at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst.

The scheme will deliver a world-class, sustainable, and connected life science campus bringing together companies from early-stage through to commercialisation and helping to meet the growing demand for GMP manufacturing and laboratory space in the UK. Construction is expected to start in late-2023, with completion for phase one targeted for Q4 2025.

The 15-building Stevenage campus, which will be named ‘Elevate Quarter’, will be set around a central green with an interconnecting network of paths and open spaces. The buildings for the new campus will include R&D labs and offices, GMP manufacturing facilities and flexible lab buildings, as well as training, innovation and collaboration spaces. Employee and visitor amenity spaces will include restaurants, cafes, and leisure facilities with three green transport hubs providing multi-storey car parking, bike parking and potential scooter/e-bike hire spaces.

Construction will start later this year on a £900m life sciences hub in Stevenage following planning approval / Picture: Hawkins Brown

The new campus will build on Stevenage’s established reputation as Europe’s leading cluster for advanced therapies and home to over 40 organisations employing over 3,500 people. These include GSK’s global R&D facility, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult), LifeArc, Cytiva and Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC), which is home to a growing number of early-stage life science companies.

The approval builds on UBS Asset Management and Reef’s existing project in Stevenage, the redevelopment of ‘The Forum’ shopping centre, which will provide 400,000 sq. ft. of new GMP advanced manufacturing space in Stevenage town centre and received planning committee approval in February 2023.

Olivia Drew, portfolio manager for real estate and private markets at UBS Asset Management, said: “The delivery of the new life science campus will leverage years of unparalleled experience across both UBS and Reef. The buildings have been carefully designed to be at the cutting edge of sustainability and will facilitate world-leading R&D and advanced manufacturing. The new campus will support thousands of new jobs and boost the UK’s position as a global life sciences leader.”

Piers Slater, joint chief executive at Reef Group, added: “The approval of our new life science campus in Stevenage further cements its position as Europe’s leading cluster for advanced therapies. Stevenage is ideally positioned to attract world-class talent and the campus will facilitate further collaboration between major multinationals and biotechs. The campus has been designed to allow these life science businesses to grow and scale-up over time and to create an open and accessible environment for both employees and the wider public.”

Dr Tony Wood, chief scientific officer for GSK, concluded: “New lab space and facilities for the cutting-edge biotech companies of the future are in short supply, so we’re delighted to support the creation of a new life sciences campus at the heart of the Golden Triangle of London, Oxford and Cambridge. Situated alongside one of our global R&D hubs, this is a really positive development for the sector and it’s great that we’re one step closer to work starting on the new Stevenage development.”

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