Science Vale UK with its concentration of science research and development facilities is home to companies at the cutting edge of life sciences, space technology, robotics, electronics and advanced engineering.
The region is growing fast as companies such as Immunocore Ltd – one of the world’s leading independent biotechnology companies, take advantage of enterprise zone benefits that are helping businesses expand or relocate into a science cluster that is planned to generate 20,000 new jobs by 2031.
Immunocore Ltd has been based at Milton Park since 2000 and currently occupies 135,000 sq ft of laboratory and office space. The company will lease new 53,000 sq ft purpose-built premises in the enterprise zone and will also take further leases on a total of 48,000 sq ft in existing buildings at Milton Park. The purpose-built research laboratory facilities will support Immunocore’s continued growth in the area and accommodate around 450 scientists. The Milton Park expansion reflects the growing demand for state-of-the-art, strategically located premises from established and emerging science and technology businesses in Science Vale. This location benefits from access to talent from the University of Oxford and excellent transport links into London and other key regional hubs.
The Science Vale enterprise zone designation helped to simplify and accelerate the planning process which took just 10 days. Planning consent for the new building was obtained through the fast-track Local Development Order, which secured consent for a wide range of development. The Science Vale enterprise zones are part of a government funded business growth scheme, led by South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse District Councils. Qualifying businesses can save up to £55,000 a year for 5 years on business rates by moving to an enterprise zone.
Lord Prior, Business Minister, said: “Immunocore’s expansion in Oxfordshire is a boost for the UK’s life sciences sector and a vote of confidence in both our economy and global leadership in developing cutting-edge drugs that improve people’s lives.
Our Industrial Strategy and sector deal with the life sciences, will make the UK one of the most competitive places in the world to grow a biotechnology business and encourage even more firms to invest, creating jobs and sustainable growth across all parts of the UK.”
At the end of August the government announced its new Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and a £160 million support funding package. This included £25 million to support SME’s research and development in this sector.