Major pharma company to make significant investment in the UK

MSD's announcement to establish UK Discovery Centre in London an 'endorsement' of the government's Industry Strategy.

MSD (Merck and Co.) is set to establish a state-of-the-art life sciences discovery research facility in London, focussed on early bioscience discovery and entrepreneurial innovation.

Major pharma company to make significant investment in the UK

The new UK Discovery Centre is anticipated to create 150 new research roles with the aim of attracting the brightest and best research scientists to work in London. The new site will accommodate approximately 800 additional staff for the UK domestic market and other European clinical functions currently based in MSD in the UK’s Hoddesdon headquarters.

The company is currently evaluating several potential locations in the London region with a target date of 2020 for operational readiness. In the meantime, MSD plans to establish a small temporary research facility in the area and is actively recruiting for suitably qualified scientific talent.

The proposed investment is in line with MSD Research Laboratories’ continued pursuit of new innovative scientific discovery and collaboration and follows similar investments in new biomedical centres in the San Francisco Bay Area and Cambridge Massachusetts. MSD believes that locating a research facility in London will expand MSD’s opportunity to engage with leading researchers in the UK and Europe.

“Strong discovery capabilities and the pursuit of scientific excellence are foundational to MSD’s mission to save and improve lives around the world,” said Dr Roger M. Perlmutter, president, MSD Research Laboratories. “This new London location will enable us to build on our proud legacy of invention and be an important contributor to the vibrant and rapidly growing London life sciences community while providing access for more collaborations within the European life science ecosystem.”

“We believe London to be a unique bioscience centre of excellence and a key component of the established golden triangle for academic science of London-Oxford-Cambridge,” said Louise Houson, managing director, MSD in the UK and Ireland. “This investment presents a major opportunity for us to work in collaboration with the UK Government to build on the forward-thinking and ambitious Industrial Strategy White Paper published by the Government today.”

It is intended that the UK Discovery Centre will become the location for MSD’s UK HQ, making the central London site a unique location within the UK pharmaceutical sector.

This landmark investment comes as a huge vote of confidence in the UK government’s approach to industrial strategy. Announcing the investment, Business Secretary Greg Clark said: "Our life sciences sector is one of the UK’s fastest developing industries, with a turnover in excess of £64 billion, employing 233,000 across the UK."

He added: "MSD’s commitment, and the wider Sector Deal investment we have secured, proves the process outlined in the Industrial Strategy can give companies the confidence and direction they need to invest in the UK. It will ensure Britain continues to be at the forefront of innovation and represents a huge vote of confidence in our Industrial Strategy."

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