In a bid to get easier access to “scientific workforce and institutions”, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca is to invest £330m in a global HQ and new drugs centre in Cambridge.
The decision will result in 700 redundancies in Cheshire.
The company’s Alderley Park facility will cease operating, in a move that, the unions said, will create a skills crisis in north-west England.
Linda McCulloch, Unite national officer, commented: “After 40 years of success and hundreds of millions of pounds of investment, we are at a loss as to why AstraZeneca is now pulling out of Alderley Park.”
The facility employs 2,900 people. Over the next three years, 1,600 will move: most of them will go work in Cambridge, but some will relocate overseas. Alderley Park will retain at least 700 non-R&D positions.
CEO Pascal Soriot said: “This is a major investment in the future of this company that will enable us to accelerate innovation by improving collaboration, reducing complexity and speeding up decision-making.
He added that Cambridge, thanks to its strong links to London-based research institutions, is a “bioscience hotspot that rivals the likes of San Francisco and Boston.”
“I believe that the investment greatly increases the chances that the next generation of innovative medicines will be invented and manufactured in Britain,” he concluded.