New £30m life science facility to be built in Nottingham, UK


Expanding the current BioCity site on Pennyfoot Street

A new £30m life science facility is to be built in Nottingham, UK, creating 'hundreds' of skilled jobs.

Work has begun on the five-storey state-of-the-art building, which will be constructed next to the current BioCity site on Pennyfoot Street.

The new building expands the BioCity complex, and will be operated by BioCity Group, which signed contracts with Nottingham City Council this week.

Sygnature Discovery, currently based in the Laurus building at BioCity, will take up 30,000ft2 of the 50,000ft2 available in the new building. This is part of the company’s plan to increase headcount in Nottingham by a further 70 scientists and support staff, to more than 200 by 2018.

The move will also free space in the existing building for more developing companies to make use of its incubator facilities.

Willmott Dixon has been appointed as the main contractor, with CPMG of Nottingham as the architect.

Expected to be completed in spring 2017, the facility will help to bring more life science employers to Nottingham and create around 250 specialist bioscience jobs, with 700 more created over a 30-year period.

This is a real statement of intent for Nottingham as a leader in the life sciences sector

The prominent brownfield site on Plough Lane overlooking Parliament Street will benefit from a striking new building that will include a sunscreen created by local artist Wolfgang Buttress.

The building aims to achieve a BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) rating, reducing its environmental impact. It will be connected to the district heating system and so its energy needs will be provided from burning the city’s waste. The new development is expected to act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the Eastside of the city.

The site was bought, cleared and decontaminated by Nottingham City Council for the new life science incubator to be developed. The facility will be fitted with high-tech biology and chemistry laboratories in a range of sizes to allow companies to expand, with ancillary space for commercial leasing to both start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises.

The City Council successfully applied to the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership for £6.5m from its Local Growth Fund towards the overall costs of the scheme, with the remaining costs funded by the council.

BioCity's Operations Director Toby Reid said: 'This is a real statement of intent for Nottingham as a leader in the life sciences sector. Not only have we ensured that a company of the standing of Sygnature Discovery has remained here as a beacon of excellence in the sector, but we've also been able to create further space to accommodate our own growth and that of the next generation of innovative entrepreneurs.

'It is by creating this clustering effect that we can accelerate the growth of companies within and associated with BioCity. That is good news for the local economy which, via the city council and the LEP, is placing life sciences at the heart of its growth strategy.'

Sygnature Discovery’s CEO and Founder, Dr Simon Hirst, said: 'Sygnature Discovery was founded in BioCity over ten years ago and has grown rapidly during the past few years. Although the facilities are excellent at BioCity there has been a risk that our future growth within the city would be constrained due to space. The Council’s decision to invest in this state-of-the-art science building will allow us to continue our expansion in Nottingham and to create more science-based jobs.

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'We are delighted that the facility will enable us to continue to grow our relationship with the city and BioCity and I’m pleased to announce that Sygnature Discovery will be the anchor tenant in this prestigious facility.'