Discovery Park at Sandwich is marking its tenth anniversary and the team behind the science park have announced plans to double the number of people employed on site from 3,500 to 7,000.
The science and innovation park marked the milestone by outlining plans for the next ten years, which include the creation of a national centre of excellence for neuroscience, alongside life sciences, agritech and renewable energy technologies.
The 10-year milestone coincided with Discovery Park hosting ‘Biotech unplugged: From cell to software’ which highlighted the move towards data-driven healthcare. The major event, involving experts from Google, Huma, Pfizer and SomX, focused on how the emergence of TechBio is speeding up innovation and collaboration across academia and industry.
Mayer Schreiber, CEO of Discovery Park, said: “Already home to firms employing more than 3,500 people, we are confident that, thanks to our continued investment in the park including our new life sciences incubator building, we can attract more world class businesses.
“I’m very excited by our plans for the future, working in partnership with tenants, local and national government. Within our existing building footprint, we have the space and infrastructure to double the number of jobs on site within the next 10 years.”
During the last decade, Discovery Park has become nationally recognised as a Life Sciences Opportunities Zone, with companies driving growth and creating jobs.
Discovery Park is currently completing the fit-out of a multi-million pound life sciences incubator. When finished it will offer 50,000 sq ft of laboratory and office space for start-ups and early-stage companies, including biotech, medtech and digital health firms. The investment by Discovery Park was matched by £2.5m from the Government’s Getting Building Fund.
As well as providing access to specialist facilities and high-quality offices, tenants will soon be able to benefit from the business support offered by Barclays Eagle Lab, which will open later this year.
The plans also include the expansion of Discovery Park Ventures, its venture capital fund designed to support the growth of early-stage companies and disruptive technologies, which has announced its first three investments, with more expected shortly.
Mayer Schreiber added: “As we celebrate our first decade, a big thank you must go to Kent County Council, South East Local Enterprise Partnership and district councils who continue to be very supportive partners. In addition, we have been able to foster strong partnerships with the county’s Further and Higher Education community and nurture the STEM skills needed to support our tenants.”
Discovery Park was created in 2012 and is now home to more than 160 businesses, including anchor tenant Pfizer.
Julian Thompson, Vice President of Global Regulatory Operations and Sandwich Site Head for Pfizer, said: “Pfizer has been operating in the UK for 70 years, most of which have been here at Sandwich. We are incredibly proud of the impact our scientists have on patients globally, with a high percentage of Pfizer small molecule products worldwide passing through the Sandwich site on their development journey.
“We’re delighted to be celebrating 10 years of Discovery Park, our growing presence and our shared ethos of innovation and community support. We look forward to the future collaborations in our effort to set the UK apart as a destination for global investment in life sciences.”
Pfizer’s Research and Development Centre of Excellence is the park’s largest tenant and has continued to invest in its facilities at Discovery Park. It is one of Pfizer’s two centres responsible for the global design, development and manufacture of small molecule medicines from the earliest pre-clinical trials through all the stages of development.
The Pfizer team at Sandwich operates its largest research and development facility in Europe and is home to the only fully automated pilot manufacturing centre.