AstraZeneca is to ramp up production at Macclesfield – its biggest manufacturing site in Britain.
The investment at the Hurdsfield campus – thought to be in the tens of millions of pounds – is set to be announced this week to coincide with the launch of the Government’s life sciences industrial strategy. It will increase capacity at AstraZeneca’s existing £150m factory on the site which is struggling to meet exploding demand for prostate and breast cancer drug Zoladex from Asia.
The facility currently employs 300 people. Only a month ago chief executive, Pascal Soriot, warned he had put all capital investment decisions on ice due to Brexit uncertainty, including the Macclesfield facility project.
Andy Evans, head of AstraZeneca’s Macclesfield operations, told The Sunday Telegraph the firm was now poised to invest.
The planned project will cheer ministers as they prepare to reboot the Government’s industrial strategy in Birmingham on Wednesday, with the £60bn life sciences sector first in line for a boost.
A report, authored by Sir John Bell, Canadian-British immunologist and geneticist, will lay out proposals to boost the 220,000-strong UK drugs sector through new investment and cutting red tape.
It comes amid calls for the Government to do more to support the sector ahead of Brexit, with industry experts warning capital investment more broadly has been hit by uncertainty around future trade rules and regulation.
Last week drugmakers, including AstraZeneca, published a paper calling on the public sector to invest up to £140m in three new drug manufacturing “centres of excellence” to stimulate the industry and help reverse a long-term decline in UK pharmaceutical exports.
Ed: It’s hoped that Macclesfield will prove to be one of those chosen centres of excellence – giving a huge boost to the local economy.