AstraZeneca opens research center while UK builds science center

AstraZeneca opens research center while UK builds science center

London Prince Charles will be on hand Tuesday when drugmaker AstraZeneca opens a billion-pound ($1.34 billion) research center near the University of Cambridge, hoping to build on work on developing one of the first COVID-19 vaccines.

The 19,000 square meter (over 200,000 square foot) complex will house more than 2,200 research scientists. He joins a group of companies seeking to make Cambridge a center for life sciences research similar to what California’s Silicon Valley represents for the tech industry.

“Our ambition today is not only to unveil a building, but also to drive the next wave of scientific innovation,” CEO Pascal Soriot said in a statement.

The Cambridge Life Sciences group includes 631 companies that employ nearly 21,000 people and generate annual revenue of £7 billion, according to Cambridge Ahead, which promotes business development in the city.

AstraZeneca has worked with Oxford University to develop one of the first COVID-19 vaccines approved by regulators in the UK, EU and other countries. The vaccine is widely used in developing countries because AstraZeneca has pledged to keep costs low by selling it to low- and middle-income countries on a non-profit basis.

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AstraZeneca also plans to ask the US Food and Drug Administration to approve the vaccine.

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