AstraZeneca site sold to Manchester Science Parks

AstraZeneca sign at Alderley Park
Image caption AstraZeneca expects to complete the sale by the end of the month

The AstraZeneca site in Cheshire is to be sold to a Greater Manchester-based consortium, it has been announced.

The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant said last year it would move its research and development unit from Alderley Park to Cambridge in 2016.

Manchester Science Parks (MSP), a part-public part-private body promoting science and technology, is to buy the 400-acre "bio-science hub".

Cheshire East Council said the move would create about 1,500 jobs.

MSP shareholders include property company Bruntwood, the Manchester universities, Cheshire East Council and both Manchester and Salford city councils.

AstraZeneca said the deal was expected to be completed by the end of the month.

The company previously said the majority of the 2,900 Alderley Park staff were to be relocated to Cambridge or to its nearby Macclesfield plant, although there would be job losses.

About 700 of its staff will remain on the site after the move in non-research and development roles.

AstraZeneca currently employs about 6,700 people in the UK and is the second largest drugs company in the UK after GlaxoSmithKline.

'Rich heritage'

Chancellor George Osborne said he was "delighted" that the future of the site had been secured.

Mr Osborne, the Conservative MP for Tatton, said: "Alderley Park, with its rich heritage of innovation, will now continue to operate at the centre of the UK's life sciences industry.

"It ensures that new businesses are able to build on the site's history to deliver exciting new opportunities and new jobs for the North West."

Michael Jones, leader of Cheshire East Council, said the council and AstraZeneca had worked to "entice 20 companies into the site, bringing about 500 jobs on board and a further 1,000 jobs in the pipeline".

BioCity, a company which specialises in helping biotech, pharmaceutical and healthcare start-ups, was appointed last year to promote the site.

Chris Oglesby, chairman of MSP, said it was "committed to developing a bioscience business cluster of international importance".

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