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New world-leading precision medicine campus set to open in Manchester

11 Jul 2018

Ground-breaking partnership between academia, industry and the NHS and global diagnostics firm QIAGEN to confirm Manchester as a world leader in this vital emerging industry

World-leading precision medicine campus

Proposals have been announced to create a world-leading precision medicine campus in the Corridor Manchester Enterprise Zone, located on the UK’s largest clinical academic campus - Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

Greater Manchester's ground-breaking partnership between academia, industry and the NHS - Health Innovation Manchester - has been working with global diagnostics firm QIAGEN on a joint project which will create and support up to 1,500 jobs – adding almost £150m to Manchester’s economy over a decade. The collaboration will also bring fast-tracked real health benefits to Manchester and Greater Manchester residents, and ultimately people nationally and internationally, through access to new tests and targeted treatments developed through pioneering research.

The proposals have been welcomed by Manchester and Greater Manchester civic, academic and health leaders.

Manchester City Council today, Wednesday 11 July, approved a one-off investment of up to £21 million, underwritten by life science enterprise zone business rates, as part of a public sector funding package to support a programme of research and development. Greater Manchester Combined Authority have already agreed to provide £3 million of loan funding.

This will confirm Manchester as a world leader in this vital emerging industry with enormous growth potential. The Life Sciences sector already contributes more than £10.8 billion a year to the UK economy and was identified in the Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review as one of the North of England’s key strengths and opportunities and in the government's industrial strategy as a huge opportunity. Manchester is already a UK flagship for life sciences, with major innovation hubs in the Corridor Manchester Campus and nearby Alderley Park.

Benefits

The benefits for Manchester and its people from this one-off investment will be twofold – delivering health benefits for residents by enabling strides to be taken in the prediction and prevention of disease through new diagnostic tests which enable earlier detection of disease and development of personalised treatments, and by supporting and creating jobs in the city’s economy. This investment will directly create around 250 jobs and safeguard an extra 215 while supporting more than 1,000 more indirectly across Corridor Manchester – adding an anticipated £140m to Manchester’s economy over a decade. It will anchor the life sciences sector, acting as a market for related small and medium-sized enterprises as part of an Applied Health Innovation Campus and reinforcing the city’s reputation at the cutting edge of innovation.

Greater Manchester’s unique health and social care devolution arrangements will enable patients to benefit more quickly from new tests and medicines and access to clinical trials.

Inward investment

Our President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell said: “We are delighted by the announcement that Qiagen NV, a major and innovative diagnostic company will significantly increase their research and development activities in Manchester. This is excellent news for the city region and for The University of Manchester. This major inward investment demonstrates confidence in the city region and the University. At The University of Manchester, genomics, personalised medicine and early diagnosis of disease are major research activities, notably in cancer, one of our five ‘research beacons’. Qiagen has great expertise that is highly relevant to each of these areas.

“Attracting companies in the life sciences will add further to the attractiveness of Manchester and The University of Manchester as a hub of scientific discovery and medical expertise. Our research in life sciences and health is renowned world-wide and we are delighted to welcome expansion of such an exciting global business in healthcare to Manchester.”

Sir Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “This will help confirm Manchester as a world leader in this vital emerging industry with enormous growth potential. This is an opportunity that as a city we cannot afford to miss. It’s a win-win – not just creating a raft of new highly skilled health science jobs and an economic boost but crucially also opening up revolutionary new health benefits for people here. Manchester’s future success depends on building on our distinctive strengths and life sciences definitely falls into that category.”

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “We’ve always led the way in Greater Manchester, whether it’s cutting edge science and technology, being at the forefront of social change, or pioneering partnerships across different sectors. The NHS was ‘born’ here in Greater Manchester in the middle of the 20th century, 70 years ago and last week we celebrated this. This week we secure our position in 21st century health innovation with this global deal.”

Step change

Rowena Burns, Chair of Health Innovation Manchester and Chair of Manchester Science Partnerships, said: “This is a hugely important step change for Greater Manchester's already strong life sciences sector. The new health innovation campus, with QIAGEN at its heart, will support the continued growth of businesses which are driving the future shape of medicine and health care, and cement our position as a world-leader in precision medicine. This is precisely what Health Innovation Manchester was set up to do, and combined with our devolved health and social care system, places us in an incredibly strong position to address the health challenges of the population.

“For MSP, this is a massive testimony to the existing strength of our partnership with QIAGEN, who have already added so much to the City's life sciences community. QIAGEN will now become the flagship for the next phase of our Oxford Road Citylabs campus, being developed by MSP's majority shareholder, Bruntwood, for MSP and our joint venture partner, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust."

Peer M. Schatz, Chief Executive Officer of QIAGEN, said: “These partnerships leverage QIAGEN’s rich expertise in Manchester to accelerate innovation as a basis for the development of valuable molecular tests. This is a true win-win situation, bringing together QIAGEN, the global leader in Sample to Insight solutions, with important intellectual assets in the U.K. to accelerate molecular biomarker research and subsequent development of new and promising diagnostic assays.

“We expect this collaborative initiative to serve as an innovation incubator to support translating genomic biomarkers into clinical use and ultimately to yield benefits for our customers and patients everywhere who need advanced diagnostic insights.”

Better care for our patients

Sir Mike Deegan, Chief Executive at 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.”

Tom Renn, Managing Director of Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) said: "We are proud to be part of the partnership that has led to this hugely important deal for our great city, and a thrilled that our long-standing customer QIAGEN has chosen our Citylabs 2.0 for their new home as they make this significant expansion. With our Joint Venture partner, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, we are excited to progress our £60m, 220,000sq ft Citylabs campus extension which will enable the creation of a world-leading precision medicine campus in Manchester. This is a huge investment in Manchester and our Citylabs campus, developed by our majority shareholder and MFT's strategy property partner Bruntwood, will provide the facilities and growth support for world-leading clinical care, research and innovation to flourish. Undoubtedly this will be the biggest deal of the year for the sector in the city."