Next phase of world-leading genomics hub takes shape

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Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) has announced that work has started on Citylabs 2.0, the first phase of its £60 million extension of the Citylabs campus, which will be at the heart of Greater Manchester’s new globally-leading genomics campus for innovation, precision medicine, translational science, and molecular diagnostics.

Principal contractor Sir Robert McAlpine has been awarded a £22m contract for the 92,000 sq ft development, a Joint Venture partnership between MSP and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) which is due for completion by the end of 2020.

Designed by architects Sheppard Robson, Citylabs 2.0 has already been 100% pre-let to global molecular diagnostics company QIAGEN and will become its European Hub for Diagnostics Development. QIAGEN’s expansion and relocation from their existing base at Manchester Science Park will see them become the anchor industrial partner in the global genomics campus where they will connect in with a diverse community of businesses including those working in medtech, clinical trials, data management, and will gain access to the MFT’s specialist clinical resources and expertise from researchers, clinicians and procurement teams. 

Located within Europe’s largest clinical-academic campus, Citylabs 2.0 is surrounded by the Manchester Royal Infirmary, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Saint Mary’s Hospital and Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and will build on the success of Citylabs 1.0 which has been fully let since its completion in 2015 and has already showcased a unique new way of collaborative working between industry, academia and clinicians.

Manchester’s new genomics campus will create more than 1,500 high value jobs over the next decade, adding over £150m to the city region’s economy. Crucially, it will positively impact the lives of over three million people by providing access to new diagnostics and more targeted treatments through pioneering research, and will see these products and services adopted into the city’s health service at a much faster rate. 

Tom Renn, Managing Director of Manchester Science Partnerships, said: “We’re delighted to have appointed Sir Robert McAlpine as the main contractor on this project and to be announcing the start of works on Citylabs 2.0 with our Joint Venture partner, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

“This is an important milestone in our journey to create a world-leading precision medicine campus in Manchester, strengthening the region’s standing as a global centre of excellence in life sciences and diagnostics, bringing real health benefits to millions of people, and supporting the creation of thousands of high-quality jobs.

“We look forward to supporting our long-standing customer QIAGEN as they continue with their ongoing growth and expand into Citylabs 2.0 once it completes at the end of 2020. We’re incredibly proud to be working with QIAGEN and be part of the partnership which is creating a globally-leading genomics hub in Manchester, and look forward to working with other life sciences and medtech businesses as they join our cluster at Citylabs.”

Sir Mike Deegan, Chief Executive of Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust said: “Securing and expanding QIAGEN's future on the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust site is a pivotal component of our vision to create an internationally-leading research and innovation campus focused on integrated diagnostics leading to better care for our patients. Modern healthcare requires us to handle massive arrays of data from a huge range of technologies in order to come up with the right answer for patients. This has never been clearer than with genomic medicine, QIAGEN's immediate focus, which holds the power to deliver transformative clinical benefits at the level of individual patients--the heart of precision medicine.”

Simon Trevor, Central, Wales & West Regional Managing Director for Sir Robert McAlpine, said: “We look forward to working with Manchester Science Partnerships on the extension of the Citylabs campus. Building on 150 years of technical excellence and innovation, we take pride in delivering complex projects that make a positive impact on communities and leave a lasting legacy, such as this state-of-the-art medical facility.”

Citylabs 2.0 is being developed by Bruntwood as part of a 10 year Strategic Property Partnership with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust to support the delivery of clinical care, research and innovation, as well as the development of MFT’s estate. A £18.5m loan from Evergreen 2 has been secured, a fund supported by 2014-20 European Regional Development Fund, and the North West Evergreen Fund, which will be used to finance construction costs, professional fees and expenses.