In­dus­trial suc­cess story that keeps on grow­ing

Macclesfield Express - - ASTRAZENECA MILESTONE -

THE man­u­fac­tur­ing cen­tre was of­fi­cially opened on April 26, 1966, to link up with the medicines be­ing re­searched at its lab­o­ra­to­ries in Alder­ley Park.

The fac­tory - then owned by ICI - took four years and £7m to build on a 80-acre green field site on the Hurds­field in­dus­trial es­tate.

Ar­chi­tects Harry S Fairhurst & Sons de­signed the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal build­ing, of­fices, restau­rant, lab­o­ra­to­ries and med­i­cal cen­tre.

Ini­tially only half the site was de­vel­oped, with fu­ture ex­pan­sion in mind.

By 1964, the lab­o­ra­to­ries and ware­house were up and run­ning and the fol­low­ing year man­u­fac­tur­ing be­gan, cre­at­ing 1,000 jobs.

Drugs were cre­ated in bulk, tested, and then pro­cessed into tablets, creams, in­jecta­bles or so­lu­tions. The prod­ucts were then packed and stored in the ware­house on racks up to 21 feet high.

It wasn’t long be­fore there was a need to ex­pand and in 1971 a £3.5 mil­lion ex­ten­sion was com­pleted.

Fur­ther new plants were built in­clud­ing a new phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal pro­duc­tion build­ing in 1984 and a spe­cial tablets fa­cil­ity in 1985, mean­ing the site then em­ployed 2,500 em­ploy­ees.

Fol­low­ing the launch of a drug for prostate and breast cancer in 1987, a spe­cial ster­ile plant was con­structed and opened in 1990.

Growth con­tin­ued with three fur­ther ster­ile plants be­ing built – the last in 1999.

By 1993, ICI had been sold off and re­or­gan­ised and the plant’s own­ers Zeneca were pro­duc­ing drugs to treat can­cers, heart, ner­vous sys­tem, res­pi­ra­tory and gas­troin­testi­nal con­di­tions.

It was now fo­cussed on pro­duc­tion, pack­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion, but also grow ing its de­vel­op­ment team, who tested the best method of pro­duc­tion for drugs, cre­at­ing a bridge be­tween the sci­ence and man­u­fac­tur­ing.

By 1996, goods left Mac­cles­field for 5,000 UK cus­tomers and 120 over­seas mar­kets.

In 1999, the Swedish phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal firm As­tra merged with Zeneca, cre­at­ing one of the largest phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies in the world.

More re­cently in­vest­ment has con­tin­ued with a £120 mil­lion up­grade to medicines pro­duc­tion, £60 mil­lion on a new ware­house and pack­ing hall due in 2017 and £20 mil­lion on new of­fices.

The site now em­ploys more than 3,000 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 1,000 in man­u­fac­tur­ing as well as 800 de­vel­op­ment and 500 IT staff.

●● A lab­o­ra­tory at the Hurds­field site

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