The sale is part of AZ’s plan to establish a new global R&D center and corporate headquarters in Cambridge, U.K., in 2016. The new owners plan to build on Alderley Park’s heritage of scientific innovation, ensuring that the 400-acre site remains a life science and biotechnology campus. The financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.
Pascal Soriot, CEO, AstraZeneca, said, “The sale of the site to Manchester Science Parks is the responsible and sustainable choice for the future of Alderley Park. The new owner is committed to building on AstraZeneca’s life science legacy at the site and ensuring it remains a center 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.”
Chris Oglesby, chairman of MSP and chief executive of MSP majority shareholder Bruntwood, said, “We are committed to developing a bioscience business cluster of international importance on the site, making it a flagship location of its kind for the North of England and the U.K.”
AZ will take pre-tax impairment charges of $275 million to non-core R&D expense in the first quarter of 2014. AZ expects to complete the sale by the end of March 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 AZ’s R&D staff to take place when its new facility is completed.
Alderley Park will remain a major location for AZ in the U.K., with about 700 staff on the site in non-R&D roles following the transition to Cambridge. Overall, AZ will continue to have a significant presence in the North West of England with approximately 3,000 employees across Alderley Park, the Macclesfield manufacturing site and the MedImmune vaccine manufacturing facility in Speke. The company also has extensive and close scientific collaborations with academic institutions such as Manchester University, which will continue to play an important role in discovery work.