Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is set to create up to 5,000 new jobs as part of a plan to build one of the largest life sciences sites in Europe.
The company is looking to extend its facility in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, where it currently conducts research and development.
GSK says the plan could create thousands of highly skilled jobs in the next five to 10 years.
It aims to raise £400m by selling off a third of the current 92-acre site.
Stevenage is already one of GSK’s two global hubs, and hosts the UK’s largest work into cell and gene therapy.
The development of the new site is expected to begin in 2022. The new campus – which will sit next to GSK’s existing site at Stevenage – could ultimately deliver 100,000 square metres of new floor space for commercial life sciences research and development.
“The past 18 months has shown the UK life sciences sector at its best and the UK has recently unveiled an ambitious 10-year vision for the UK life sciences sector,” said GSK senior vice president Tony Wood.
“Our goal is for Stevenage to emerge as a top destination for medical and scientific research by the end of the decade,” he added.
GSK has come under pressure recently from shareholders to reconfigure its businesses amid criticism over its performance.
The company is a leading vaccine maker, but has been late to develop one for Covid-19. Its Covid vaccine, which is being developed with France’s Sanofi, is still undergoing trials.
GSK boss Emma Walmsley is selling the company’s consumer healthcare division, which makes big-brand products including Sensodyne and Panadol.
That move is designed to let it focus on developing new drugs and vaccines.