AstraZeneca changes contractors on new £500m HQ, after suffering delays

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

An aerial shot of Cambridge, UK. (Image: Getty/PhotoLondonUK)
An aerial shot of Cambridge, UK. (Image: Getty/PhotoLondonUK)

Related tags Astrazeneca Brexit

AstraZeneca has pushed back the expected completion date of its new Cambridge, UK headquarters to 2020, after changing contractors.

AstraZeneca (AZ) announced that it has changed the contractor building its headquarters from Skansa to Mace, after a series of delays saw the completion date set back from 2016 to a new provisional date of 2020.

The project was initially announced in 2013​, when the company expected the facility to cost £330m ($424m), but has since stated that the cost will be in excess of £500m due to additional features being added.

A statement provided to us by a spokesperson for the company outlined that the facility is now entering the “scientific fit-out and commissioning phase of the project”.

However, the company is yet to give a firm deadline of when employees will begin working from the site, with its own estimate “point[ing] to the first half of 2020.”

The spokesperson did not confirm exactly why the company has chosen to switch contractors.

Cambridge hub

More than simply a headquarters, the 11-acre space will host its global corporate offices and an R&D centre – the latter housing staff from both AZ and its subsidiary, MedImmune.

In total, the site is expected to house approximately 2,000 staff members. The company currently employs over 2,600 staff members in the Cambridge area – one point on the so-called ‘golden triangle’ of the biopharma industry, alongside Oxford and London.

The statement noted that being part of the Cambridge biopharma cluster has allowed the company to establish “significant scientific partnerships and strategic collaborations”​.

With Brexit deadlines looming in the near distance, however, the strength of the UK biopharma industry could be tested.

AZ has already revealed that it is planning ahead​ to mitigate potential fallout from the UK’s exit from the European Union, stockpiling an additional 20% of its medicine to counteract any potential shortage in supply.

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