Property Agency

Ben Green 


Pharma investment affirms Cambridge’s pre-eminence

Ben Green, Director, who heads the Cambridge office, joins the chorus of approval for the city’s high profile R&D offering.

News announced earlier in the month (January) that a French pharmaceuticals company is set to pay £820 million for a Cambridge antibody specialist is as welcome as it is unsurprising.

Sanofi is the suitor of Cambridge’s Kymab. The latter is a drug and vaccine developer based at Babraham Research Campus, to the south of the city, and is borne of research its chief scientific officer, Professor Allan Bradley conducted at the nearby Wellcome Sanger Institute.

Kymab was founded in 2010 by Dr Glenn Friedrich with Prof Bradley’s research input. It is a very typical Cambridge tale of deep, academic scientific research spinning out to small, specialist biotech or hi-tech commercial companies.

Such companies’ growth strategies to attract early stage ‘angel’ investment will almost always have an eye on an exit strategy involving attracting a substantial controlling investment, if not buyout, by a larger, international corporate player.

It’s been the story of Cambridge’s prosperity and it sets the tone for the city’s commercial property market for not only its scientific and technology occupiers but also the professional and financial services sector too.

The latter sector’s success – and here I include those of property firms – is very much dependent on the high profile and the churn of business space deals among R&D and laboratory occupiers.

Thus, in Cambridge, we are fortunate to enjoy and benefit from many ‘scientific campus’ style locations offering the kind of office suite and R&D/lab combinations occupiers of all shapes, sizes and stages of growth seek.

The ‘daddy’ of which is, undoubtedly, Cambridge Science Park whose original 1970s site has expanded in phases well beyond its original, concentrated, pioneering, northern edge of city site.

It is still the most coveted of R&D locations and one which its psf price reflects.

The opening of the city’s second railway station, Cambridge North, less than four years ago (May 2017) will continue to bolster the Science Park area of the city as the new station site develops out to have its own commercial attraction and identity.

Down the years, I’ve had the pleasure on being instructed on the high profile R&D sites in Cambridge’s ring of scientific and technology campuses – many of which are at the city’s southern side where there has been rapid development from the mid 1990s.

The latest instruction of this kind is at (( Harston Mill, where, true to type for a Cambridge offering, there is a range of suites to suit office or laboratory use from 18 sq m (192 sq ft) to larger suites of 270 sq m (2,904 sq ft) with the ability to combine suites.

With news now announced of planning approval granted for a brand new scientific location to the west of Cambridge at Bourn, which is inspired by a Eindhoven’s high-tech campus and already has the commitment to relocation by one rising star on the Cambridge innovation scene Cambridge Design Partnership, the city’s pre-eminence in for science and technology looks set to continue.


For more information R&D and laboratory property availability in Cambridge, contact Ben Green, tel 01223 467155, [email protected].

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