Analytical technology company Waters Corporation has issued a development brief for a new facility to be built in south Manchester.
The 185,000 sq ft centre would be used for research, design and manufacture of mass spectrometry instruments.
The American-based firm already operates three sites in Wythenshawe and Altrincham in south Manchester, which employs 450 people.
Waters Corporation acquired Manchester-based company Micromass, which designs, develops and manufacturers mass spectrometers, in 1997.
Waters Corporation employs over 5,000 people in 27 countries.
Brian Smith, vice president of mass spectrometer operations at Waters Corporation, said: "It is important to emphasise that this project is in its very early stages and its success is dependent on identifying exactly the right kind of site.
"Our ambition is to stay in the south Manchester vicinity so we can retain our highly qualified staff and continue to build upon the important relationships we have with academic institutions in the region."
If the site search is successful, the new facility would be operational by 2013.
Lambert Smith Hampton has been appointed as agents.