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AstraZeneca Unveils £650 Million Investment Plan to Strengthen UK’s Life Sciences Sector

Demis Hassabis, CEO of Google DeepMind, predicts that artificial intelligence (AI) could revolutionise drug discovery by designing drugs directly in clinics within the next few years.

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has announced its ambitious plans to inject £650 million into the UK, a move set to fortify the nation’s already prominent Life Sciences industry and bolster economic growth.

This substantial investment is poised to not only enhance public health protection but also elevate pandemic preparedness measures.

The cornerstone of AstraZeneca’s investment strategy is the allocation of £450 million to its manufacturing hub in Speke, Liverpool. This investment will fuel research, development, and production activities, particularly focusing on vaccines. The new facility is slated to operate on a net-zero basis, sourcing its power from renewable energy sources. This move aligns with AstraZeneca’s commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility.

In a strategic partnership with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), AstraZeneca aims to further fortify the nation’s resilience against future pandemics and global health threats. This collaboration will leverage technology from AstraZeneca’s Speke manufacturing site and the UKHSA’s Vaccine Development Evaluation Centre at Porton Down, enhancing vaccine development and evaluation processes.

Moreover, AstraZeneca is set to expand its presence in Cambridge, Europe’s largest life sciences cluster, with a £200 million investment. The expansion will accommodate approximately 1,000 employees and will complement the existing £1.1 billion global R&D Discovery Centre, currently housing 2,300 researchers and scientists.

The UK Government’s conducive business environment has played a pivotal role in facilitating such investments. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt emphasized the government’s commitment to fostering a competitive business tax regime, providing incentives for key industries to thrive. These efforts are integral to positioning the UK as a global hub for developing and manufacturing innovative medicines.

Commenting on the investment plans, AstraZeneca’s Chief Executive Officer, Sir Pascal Soriot, expressed confidence in the UK’s life sciences landscape. He highlighted the company’s unwavering support for driving innovation and enhancing patient access to healthcare solutions, underscoring AstraZeneca’s long-standing commitment to the UK.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the merger between the UK-based Zeneca Group and Swedish Astra AB. AstraZeneca’s journey from its British roots to becoming a global powerhouse reflects its transformative impact on patient care worldwide, driven by a steadfast dedication to scientific advancement and innovation.

Speaking about the announcement, 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 Chief Executive Officer, Sir Pascal Soriot, added his comments saying: 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.

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AstraZeneca Unveils £650 Million Investment Plan to Strengthen UK’s Life Sciences Sector