AstraZeneca set to spend millions at Macclesfield site

Britain’s second-largest drug manufacturer AstraZeneca is to make a multi-million-pound investment into technical improvements to its factory in Macclesfield where 1,800 people are employed.

The £150m Cheshire facility produces breast cancer drugs like Zoladex, one of AstraZeneca’s biggest selling products, despite the company moving all its research and development from the Alderley Park laboratories to Cambridge.

A spokeswoman for the company told The Guardian the move was “part of our ongoing investment in the UK”.

The newspaper said Mene Pangalos, who runs the firm’s innovative medicines and early development biotech unit, was expected to announce the firm’s plans in Birmingham.

AstraZeneca is holding back on any manufacturing expansion in the UK as it awaits the outcome of the Government’s Brexit negotiations.

Its plans will become clearer when immunologist and geneticist and Oxford University professor Sir John Bell spells out proposals for the life sciences sector within the next few days.

New tax breaks and other incentives to boost and research and exports of medicines are expected to be proposed his Government-backed report.

Meanwhile, the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership, chaired by Astra Zeneca’s Macclesfield head of operations, Andy Evans has called on the Government to fund the creation of four new centres of excellence for medicines manufacturing in Britain at a cost of £140m.

The MMIP believes this will help improve areas such as diagnostics and packaging, advanced therapy production and small molecule processing, and boost the creation of highly skilled jobs.

Evans said: “The UK is already one of the best places in the world to research and develop exciting new medicines for hard-to-treat diseases, but needs to improve when it comes to manufacturing and packaging them ready to go to patients.”