LONDON, March 12 AstraZeneca has agreed
to sell its Alderley Park research site in northern England to a
public-private partnership group as it moves drug discovery to a
new global centre in Cambridge.
The decision to close Alderley Park was a major blow for the
northwest of the country, but the latest transaction has a
silver lining as new owner Manchester Science Parks plans to
keep the 400-acre site as a biotechnology campus.
The site lies with within the Cheshire parliamentary
constituency of British Finance Minister George Osborne, who
said on Wednesday he was delighted it would continue to play a
role as a centre for the life sciences industry.
The sale follows a decision last March by AstraZeneca Chief
Executive Pascal Soriot to move drug research and development to
a new site in university city Cambridge in eastern England - a
world-class centre for life sciences.
Shifting research to Cambridge and creating a new global
headquarters for the company in the city is the centrepiece of a
major restructuring plan unveiled by Soriot last year, which
also included a 10 percent cut in total staff numbers by 2016.
The overall cost of the restructuring was initially put at
$2.3 billion, although the company revised this up to $2.5
billion when it presented full-year results last month.
Following the sale of the Alderley Park site, AstraZeneca
said it would take pretax impairment charges of $275 million to
non-core R&D expense in the first quarter of 2014 as part of the
wider restructuring programme.
The financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.