AstraZeneca opens "major" UK research facilities

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AstraZeneca, the UK's second largest pharmaceutical company has officially opened two "major" laboratories at two sites that will create more than 550 new scientific jobs.

In Alderley Park, near Macclesfield in Cheshire, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell opened a new 60 million pound cancer research centre, while David Brennan, the company's chief executive officer, has opened up a 16 million pound biology building in Charnwoord, near Loughborough in Leicestershire.

The Alderley Park facility has been designed to increase AstraZeneca's candidate drug output by employing 265 scientists to work with the latest technology, including nuclear magnetic resonance systems.

Charnwood, meanwhile, will see 75 scientists trying to close the gap between safety assessment and drug discovery.

Professor Dame Rothwell said that the new facilities would help to inspire a new generation of British and overseas scientists to apply themselves and further the advance of medicines designed to treat diseases like cancer.

John Patterson, AstraZeneca's executive director of development, added: "Innovation is the life-blood of the R&D based pharmaceutical industry."

The Alderley Park site employs 4,500 people and has been used as a research site since the 1950s, when AstraZeneca's forebear, ICI, purchased the site.

The facility has been responsible for some of the world's most important pharmaceutical advances in recent decades, including tamoxifen, the breast cancer drug, Casodex for prostate cancer, Arimidex for breast cancer, as well as Diprivan, the world's best-selling intravenous anaesthetic.

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