Pharmaceutical giant GSK plans to create 5,000 jobs when it opens a new £400m UK hub in Stevenage, with work expected to begin in 2022.
The company is planning to develop a cluster of biotech firms, raising money for the project by selling land in Hertfordshire before developing it into one of the largest science campuses in the country.
It follows AstraZeneca’s announcement of its new £1bn global headquarters and research centre in Cambridge.
After receiving the backing of the UK government, the project is to commence in 2022. GSK is currently searching for a development partner through which it can sell 13.3 hectares of its plot in Stevenage, with hopes to raise £400m in private investment from the sale.
With the money, GSK said it would transform a third of its existing 37-hectare (92 acre) site to offer a potential 2.5m sq ft of space, depending on planning permission.
“Our goal is for Stevenage to emerge as a top destination for medical and scientific research by the end of the decade,” said Tony Wood, senior vice-president of medicinal science and technology at GSK.
“The past 18 months has shown the UK life sciences sector at its best,” he added.
Production of the coronavirus vaccine developed by French firm Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will begin within weeks, the firms have said.
The two companies are currently in Phase 3 of their trials, which will see 35,000 adult volunteers receive their coronavirus jab across the US, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
"Manufacturing will begin in the coming weeks to enable rapid access to the vaccine should it be approved," a joint statement from Sanofi and GSK said.
The Sanofi-GSK vaccine could be given the green light by drugs regulators in the final three months of this year if the Phase 3 trials are successful.