Stevenage to home £900m life sciences hub

life sciences hub

Asset management company UBS and property developer Reef have partnered to invest up to £900m in a bid to create one of Europe’s largest life sciences hubs in Stevenage.

The new facilities will be built across 33 acres of land owned by UK pharmaceutical giant GSK in Hertfordshire, resulting in an estimated 1.4 million square ft hub.

GSK believes the investment can help Stevenage become one of Europe’s largest life sciences clusters, rivalling the likes of Cambridge, which is home to some of the UK’s cutting-edge health tech startups.

Construction is set to begin next year, with a final value estimated by UBS to be £1.5bn once finished. The hub could create up to 5,000 new jobs over the next decade, GSK said.

The site is expected to open partially for business in 2025. Talks with potential tenants of the facilities have already begun.

UBS and Reef previously co-invested in a manufacturing site, also in Stevenage.

Investments in life sciences have been on the rise in the UK, brought on by the covid pandemic and government ambitions to increase the country’s position across different tech sectors.

The investment “will encourage companies to start, grow and invest in the UK, boosting jobs and the economy and cementing the country as a global life sciences hub”, said Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Manchester has also seen a significant boost in life science funding this year, with the launch of a £20m life sciences fund for startups in the area launched by Praetura Ventures in May.

And in June, investment bank GP Bullhound joined forces with commercial property company Bruntwood to form Manchester Angels, an investment network for life science startups based in Manchester.

Commenting on the need to spread investments outside of the South of England, GP Bullhound vice president Ed Prior said: “According to Tech Nation’s 2021 Report, over £13bn in investment was raised for UK technology businesses. Yet nearly 60% of that funding went to businesses based in London and the South.”