AstraZeneca sells off UK site in Alderley Park, takes $275m hit

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AstraZeneca sells off UK site in Alderley Park, takes $275m hit
AstraZeneca is selling its Alderley Park site in Cheshire, UK, to Manchester Science Parks, a public-private partnership and science park operator.

The sale is part of AstraZeneca’s plan from earlier this month to establish a new global R&D centre and corporate headquarters in Cambridge, UK, in 2016. The new owners plan to build on Alderley Park’s heritage, ensuring that the 400 acre site remains a life science and biotechnology campus.

AstraZeneca will take pre-tax impairment charges of $275m to non-core R&D expense in the first quarter of 2014.

 “We believe that the sale of the site to Manchester Science Parks is the responsible and sustainable choice for the future of Alderley Park​,” said Pascal Soriot, CEO AstraZeneca.

The new owner is committed to building on AstraZeneca’s life science legacy at the site and ensuring it remains a centre of biotechnology innovation in the north west of England. It will lead to future growth and offer significant opportunities for new jobs to be created​.”

AstraZeneca expects to complete the sale of the northwest site by end of March 2014 and will remain a key tenant on the site. The handover of the site will be phased over a three year period, with the full exit of AstraZeneca R&D staff to take place in line with the completion of the company’s new facility in Cambridge. 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon George Osborne MP, added: “Today’s deal ensures that new businesses are able to build on the site’s history to deliver exciting new opportunities and more jobs for the North West which in turn means economic security and a brighter future for all those involved​.”

Alderley Park will remain a major location for AstraZeneca in the UK, with around 700 staff on the site in non-R&D roles following the transition to Cambridge. Overall, AstraZeneca will continue to have a significant presence in northwest England with about 3,000 employees across Alderley Park, the Macclesfield manufacturing site and the MedImmune vaccine manufacturing facility in Speke.

The company also will continue close scientific collaborations with academic institutions such as Manchester University.

The news also comes as AstraZeneca obtained planning permission​ to build a finished formulation facility in Macclesfield, UK in September. The company is now looking to build​ its oncology portfolio.

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