Healthcare giant MSD and diagnostics company Qiagen have unveiled plans to make major investments into the UK, providing a huge boost for the country's life sciences sector and creating hundreds of additional jobs in Manchester.
The investment announced by MSD, known as Merck and Co in North America, will support a new world-leading life sciences discovery research facility in the UK, supporting a total of 950 jobs in high-skilled and high-value research roles. This new state-of-the-art UK hub is intended to help ensure innovative research into future treatments for patients and pioneering medicines are completed in Britain, according to business secretary Greg Clark.
In addition, Qiagen is announcing details of a brand new partnership with Health Innovation Manchester that has the intention to develop a genomics and diagnostics campus in Manchester. This new campus will generate skilled jobs and attract companies from across the world to the North West, the government said, while the company has also confirmed that it is going to expand its current operations in Manchester with the potential to create 800 skilled jobs.
The news comes as the government reveals its flagship industrial strategy today (Monday, 27 November 2017), with a long-term plan for how Britain can build on its economic strengths, address its productivity challenge, positively embrace technological change, and support businesses and its workers.
Business secretary Greg Clark said: "Our life sciences sector is one of the UK's fastest developing industries, with a turnover in excess of £64bn, employing 233,000 across the UK.
"MSD's commitment today, 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."
MSD's research laboratories president Dr Roger M Perlmutter said: "Strong discovery capabilities and the pursuit of scientific excellence are foundational to MSD's mission to save and improve lives around the world. A new UK location will enable us to build on our proud legacy of invention and be an important contributor to the vibrant and rapidly growing UK life sciences community, while providing access for more collaborations within the European life science ecosystem."
Qiagen chief executive Peer M Schatz said: "We are very excited about this partnership with Health Innovation Manchester, and the essential engagement of the University of Manchester, the NHS trust and the UK government. Our success together can advance science and improve the lives of patients in the local region as well as worldwide."