A joint venture comprising UBS Asset Management (UBS-AM) Real Estate & Private Markets (REPM) and Reef Group plans to invest up to £900m (€1bn) to develop a life science campus in the UK.

UBS-AM REPM and Reef said they are acquiring 33 acres of land in Stevenage, Hertfordshire from GSK to develop alongside the pharmaceutical company’s existing global research and development centre in the town.

Construction of the new campus is expected to begin next year with a plan to open some elements of the site for business by 2025.

The completed project – which will become one of Europe’s largest life science campuses – is expected to provide 1.4m sqft of laboratory and office facilities, providing space for up to 5,000 new jobs, the companies said.

The vision for the new campus was developed in partnership with GSK, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, the UK government, Stevenage Borough Council and the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, said the investment in this major new campus will encourage companies to start, grow and invest in the UK, boosting jobs and the economy and cementing the country as a global life sciences hub.

Jonathan Hollick, the head of real estate EMEA (ex-DACH) at UBS-AM REPM, said: “We’re very proud to be working alongside our development partner Reef, to create a globally renowned innovation campus and thank GSK for their support.

“The UK has a unique opportunity to be a world leader in life science, and we’re committed to building on the excellent work that already takes place in Stevenage to support this ambition.”

Piers Slater, joint CEO at Reef Group said: “Stevenage is set to be transformed into one of the UK’s most dynamic life sciences hubs, forming an integral part of the eco-system of the Golden Triangle. We are excited to be working with UBS to deliver a unique and world-leading development that will be an incredible catalyst for innovation in life sciences R&D and thank GSK for their support.”

Tony Wood, chief scientific officer designate at GSK said: “The campus will add much-needed laboratory space and facilities for new companies to locate here, and further strengthen the UK life science ecosystem.”

Dr Sally Ann Forsyth, CEO of Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, said the site for the new campus is a unique location that brings together major multinationals, the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult manufacturing centre and Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst’s 40-plus biotech companies.

“This makes it a powerhouse for innovation and we are looking forward to working with Reef Group and other stakeholders to further develop the thriving life sciences campus in Stevenage.”

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