Cambridge, UK: biomarking its territory


Jane Osbourn, Ph.D.

A couple of weeks ago, AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot talked to BusinessWeekly about AstraZeneca’s and MedImmune’s new location in Cambridge—as we know it, the Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC). Last year, we announced our R&D activities will be concentrated in three strategic centers: Cambridge, UK; Gaithersburg, US; and Mölndal, Sweden.

In that conversation, he compared Cambridge to places like Boston and San Francisco, saying: “Cambridge, which boasts strong links with London-based research institutions, is a world-renowned bioscience hotspot that rivals the likes of San Francisco and Boston.”

The truth is that Cambridge has long been an international center of innovation, which is one reason why we’ve operated facilities in the city for 25 years. We’ve thrived within this cluster of science, medicine and technology, and amid our thousands of international colleagues, all of whom are driven toward the best work in research, patient care and education.

When you’re surrounded by renowned organizations such as the University of Cambridge, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, the Medical Research Council’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology, the Babraham Institute, the European Bioinformatics Instituteand Cancer Research UK—to name just a few— ideas will be generated and new therapeutic molecules will be created.

Our commitment to Cambridge is even more significant now, as AstraZeneca moves to create its corporate headquarters at the CBC and works with MedImmune to establish a global R&D center. .

What’s gratifying about this is twofold: Firstly, where a major pharmaceutical company plants its headquarters says much about its intentions as well as its confidence. That is, this is real—a $500 million investment and about 2,000 jobs brought to the Cambridge cluster. And, secondly, the ability to now support an even stronger and more robust hub, with excellent opportunities for collaborations and partnerships, portends unprecedented growth and pipeline productivity.

As we look toward the future of new drug therapies for cancer; respiratory, inflammation and autoimmune diseases (RIA); cardiovascular and metabolic disease (CVMD); and remain opportunistic in neuroscience, infectious disease and vaccines—important disease focus areas for us—we maintain our interest in leading academic and industry networks, science talent, and other valuable community alliances.

We’re a global organization, with a commitment to local communities.