The BioHub Incubator at Alderley Park has secured £1.1m funding through a Regional Growth Fund (RGF) round 6 award, it was announced today.
The funding will help to reconfigure space at Alderley Park to retain highly skilled talent in the region, attract new businesses to the BioHub and accommodate up to 100 new high-value jobs.
The BioHub is the on-site bioscience incubator that enables start-ups and early-stage bioscience companies to use the facilities and resources available at Alderley Park.
The 400-acre, former AstraZeneca research and development base was acquired by Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) last year and plans are progressing for the growth and diversification of the site as a multi-occupier community of collaborative bioscience innovators.
Operated by the specialist life science incubation company BioCity, the BioHub is effectively a collaborative R&D centre, allowing new and growing bioscience businesses to benefit from the Park’s high-specification research facilities and specialist incubation support services.
Dr Chris Doherty, site director at Alderley Park for Manchester Science Partnerships, said: “Securing RGF support is a fantastic 'shot in the arm' for the BioHub at Alderley Park and is another significant vote of confidence from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) who share our vision and strategy for growth at the Park.
“The funding is significant for Alderley Park as it supports the strategy to transform the site from a singly occupied R&D centre to a thriving multi-occupied bioscience cluster and MSP will be committing £3m to match the RGF funding.
“The BioHub is a key enabler for the Park and is needed by many of the potential ex-AstraZeneca start-ups that are being nurtured in the incubation pipeline. It is therefore critical for supporting entrepreneurship amongst scientists who are not relocating to Cambridge, and whose skills and expertise will otherwise be lost to the region.”
The development plans for Alderley Park are currently subject to a six-week public consultation period as part of Cheshire East’s strategic development framework plan.
Cheshire East Council Leader, Councillor Michael Jones, said: “We are delighted to welcome this investment by the government because a viable future for Alderley Park is essential for the strength and growth of the life sciences industry in the North West as a whole.
“Alongside AstraZeneca and Manchester Science Partnerships, Cheshire East Council has committed to invest £5m in a new Alderley Park Investment Fund which will fund the development of established companies on the site.
“To complement this investment, there is a key requirement for funds to remodel the site’s unique facilities so that it can serve smaller companies better and meet the rising demand for multi-occupancy.”
Glenn Crocker, chief executive officer of BioCity, said: “This is an exciting time for the BioCity group across all of our sites, following swiftly on from the creation of the new incubation fund, which BioCity will manage.
“This award represents validation by the government of what BioCity, MSP and AstraZeneca are creating at Alderley Park and, moreover enables further improvement of the fantastic facilities to the benefit of the fast growing companies based at BioHub.”