As someone with a keen interest in the Real Estate life sciences sector, it was very encouraging to hear life sciences being mentioned in the Queen’s Speech today and the Government re-iterating its commitment to it. From a Real Estate perspective, it has been a very interesting few months, with a number of investment assets coming to market and being acquired at levels some way above the guide price – the 5 building lot at Cambridge Science Park, acquired by Brockton Everlast for almost £100m, against a guide price of £62.5m being a prime example.
It is difficult to see this demand decreasing. The Government has committed funding for new facilities in both Oxford and Stevenage for the manufacture of vaccines and the demand from national and international pharmaceutical companies for space for the development of vaccines and for the continued research into diseases such as COVID-19, including genomic sequencing, shows no sign of abating. Government support for the sector, making immigration for STEM workers easier will surely add to that demand.
But will the dominance of the “golden triangle” of Oxford, Cambridge and London for those opportunities continue? The Government is signaling the sector as an important driver for its levelling up agenda. Already, there are established life sciences hubs in other University towns in the UK and it would be a surprise if those locations did not continue to thrive, reflecting the huge demand for assets and space to support both the sector and the emergence of the UK from the economic ravages of the pandemic. This author will watch with interest.
Life Science jobs are spread the length and breadth of the UK, making the Life Sciences industry an important driver for levelling up economic opportunity right across the country.