Qiagen is expected to take the entire 92,000 sq ft Citylabs 2.0 development in Manchester as “a world-leading precision medicine campus,” ahead of contractor Sir Robert McAlpine starting on site in the autumn.
The company, active in 25 countries with 4,200 employees worldwide, first announced its intention to open a healthcare campus in Manchester last November, as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper,
It has now confirmed its move to Citylabs 2.0, being developed by Manchester Science Partnerships’ majority shareholder Bruntwood alongside the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.
The move has been supported by Manchester City Council, which on 11 July approved a one-off investment of up to £21m, underwritten by life science enterprise zone business rates, to support a programme of research and development. The Greater Manchester Combined Authority has already agreed to provide a £3m loan.
This, said the council, would “confirm Manchester as a world leader in this vital emerging industry with enormous growth potential”.
The £25m Citylabs 2.0 off Oxford Road, designed by architect Sheppard Robson, secured planning consent in May last year, alongside its sister building Citylabs 3.0. Citylabs 1.0, a biomedical centre, completed in 2014.
In March, Citylabs 2.0 secured a £18.5m loan from Evergreen 2, a fund supported by 2014-20 European Regional Development Fund, and the North West Evergreen Fund, which will be used to finance construction costs, professional fees and expenses.
Sir Robert McAlpine has been chosen as main contractor and will work alongside project managers BuroFour and Gardiner & Theobald to deliver the building by summer 2020, with a start on site expected in either September or October this year.
Speaking to Place North West, Tom Renn, managing director at MSP, said while Citylabs 3.0 did not yet have a start date, there had been strong interest from occupiers already.
“We’re not firming up an exact construction date for it but the demand is sitting behind it, and we have about four to five floors where we know roughly who will go in,” he said.
“Part of that relates to a research programme, and we’ll find out whether that gets successfully funded later in the year.
“Hopefully this acts as a beacon for new companies to come to Manchester.”
Qiagen already has a presence in Manchester off Lloyd Street North, but estimated the new campus would create up to 800 new jobs.
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This is an opportunity that as a city we cannot afford to miss. It’s a win-win – not just creating a raft of new highly skilled health science jobs and an economic boost but crucially also opening up revolutionary new health benefits for people here. Manchester’s future success depends on building on our distinctive strengths and life sciences definitely falls into that category.”
Peer M Schatz, chief executive of Qiagen, added: “These partnerships leverage Qiagen’s rich expertise in Manchester to accelerate innovation as a basis for the development of valuable molecular tests.
“This is a true win-win situation, bringing together Qiagen, the global leader in Sample to Insight solutions, with important intellectual assets in the U.K. to accelerate molecular biomarker research and subsequent development of new and promising diagnostic assays.
“We expect this collaborative initiative to serve as an innovation incubator to support translating genomic biomarkers into clinical use and ultimately to yield benefits for our customers and patients everywhere who need advanced diagnostic insights.”