New £5m fund is ear­marked for life sci­ence firms

Macclesfield Express - - NEW YEAR’S HONOURS LIST - KAREN BRIT­TON

ANEW £5m fund has been ear­marked for sci­ence com­pa­nies at Alder­ley Park’s Biohub.

Biohub, based at Alder­ley Park, was set up by As­traZeneca to pro­vide a joint site for phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal and life sci­ence com­pa­nies.

The money will be in­vested in amounts be­tween £50,000 and £250,000 in life sci­ence firms spe­cial­is­ing in ar­eas such as drugs or med­i­cal de­vices.

The cash is from As­traZeneca, which has a base at the Hurds­field and the Nether Alder­ley site.

As­traZeneca plans to move its Re­search and De­vel­op­ment out of Alder­ley Park to Cam­bridge by 2016, leav­ing 700 to 1,000 staff on site. But it’s hoped the £5m will help se­cure the site’s fu­ture as a bio­science park and ma­jor em­ployer, named Biohub.

Biohub has be­come home to more than 300 peo­ple across 80 busi­nesses since it was set up a year and a half ago.

Ned Wake­man, di­rec­tor of Biohub, said: “This is a new fund which As­traZeneca has set up to support com­pa­nies based at Alder­ley Park. It’s part of their legacy.

“Part of my job is to support new com­pa­nies com­ing in and this fund will help to­wards that.

“We’ve set up net­work of en­trepreneurs and sci­en­tists with some re­ally se­nior As­traZeneca staff who want to give back to the site so the com­pa­nies have ac­cess to some real ex­perts.”

The money will be man­aged by BioCity, which spe­cialises in de­vel­op­ing life sci­ence busi­nesses. Pro­ceeds from in­vest­ments will go back into the fund.

Clive Mor­ris, As­traZeneca vice pres­i­dent, Re­search & De­vel­op­ment, said: “As­traZeneca’s aim in con­tribut­ing to the fund is to support the sus­tain­able growth of the BioHub and the long term fu­ture of Alder­ley Park as a sci­ence for life park.”

The new fund fol­lows £5m in­vest­ments into the Alder­ley Park In­vest­ment Fund by Manch­ester Sci­ence Part­ner­ships (MSP), which bought the site in March 2014, As­traZeneca, and Cheshire East Coun­cil and £20m from the gov­ern­ment through the Lo­cal Growth Fund.

MSP pro­poses in­vest­ing £107m over 10 years at Alder­ley Park. As­traZeneca’s move to Cam­bridge is six months ahead of sched­ule so MSP needs to de­velop the site for new com­pa­nies sooner than ex­pected.

It could re­lease some of the site for other de­vel­op­ment, in­clud­ing hous­ing, to raise funds for the sci­ence park.

Cheshire East’s cab­i­net was due to meet this week to con­sider a new de­vel­op­ment frame­work doc­u­ment for ap­proval to set out how the site should de­velop. It will be con­sid­ered when de­ter­min­ing plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions for the site.

●● The Alder­ley Park site

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