Plans to grow and double the number of people employed at Discovery Park, the UK’s biggest science and innovation center have been announced. The team behind its success shared the news as they celebrate a decade of delivering jobs and investment in the South East.
Discovery Park marked the milestone by announcing its plans for the next ten years, which include the creation of a national center of excellence for neuroscience, alongside life sciences, agri-tech and renewable energy technologies.
The celebrations 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.
Discovery Park milestone
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.”
Over the last ten years, Discovery Park has become nationally recognized as a Life Sciences Opportunities Zone, with its community of high-growth companies driving growth and creating jobs.
It 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.
Expansion of Discovery Park Ventures
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.
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.”
Created in 2012, Discovery Park is now home to more than 160 businesses, including anchor tenant Pfizer.
Pfizer’s Center of Excellence
Julian Thompson, vice president, global regulatory operations and 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 vibrant 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 centers 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 center.