Reef and USB set to open one of Europe's 'largest life science campuses'

By Liza Laws

- Last updated on GMT

© Hawkins Brown
© Hawkins Brown

Related tags Life sciences Life sciences companies Pharmacology Gsk LifeArc Cytivia

Planning permission for ‘one of Europe’s largest life sciences campuses’ was granted last week (August 8).

USB Asset Management and Reef Group received approval from the UK’s Stevenage Borough Council’s planning committee which now paves the way for the new £900 million ($1 billion) life sciences hub which will provide 1.6 million sq. ft. of lab, office, and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facilities. The hub will be delivered alongside GSK’s existing research and development (R&D) global research and development facility and the vibrant ecosystem at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst.

Piers Slater, joint chief executive, at Reef Group, said: “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.”

The companies say 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.

Elevate Quarter

Construction is expected to start in late-2023 with completion for phase one targeted for the last quarter of 2025.

The 15-building 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 comprise a variety of different uses, including 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. There will be three Green Transport Hubs which will provide multi-storey car parking, bike parking and potential scooter/e-bike hire spaces.

Olivia Drew, portfolio manager 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.”

Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst 

The new campus, Reef and USB say, will build on Stevenage’s established reputation as Europe’s leading cluster for advanced therapies and home to more than 40 organisations employing more 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), home to a growing number of early-stage life science companies.

Tony Wood, chief scientific officer, GSK said: “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.”

Dr Sally Ann Forsyth CEO, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, said she believed this is going to be a landmark day for Stevenage and UK science, strengthening the position on the global stage for technological and scientific excellence.

She said: “This campus will build on the supportive environment created here and our reputation as a leading location for the scale up of companies and commercialisation of therapies that will have a transformative impact on future health outcomes.”  

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