UBS and Reef team up to develop major UK life science campus

UBS Asset Management’s real estate & private markets division and Reef Group have teamed up as investor and co-developer for a major campus for life science businesses in Stevenage, Hertfordshire. 

The new campus, which will be one of the largest of its kind in the UK and Europe, will be built alongside GSK’s existing Global R&D centre in the town. UBS Asset Management and Reef are expected to deliver up to £900 mln (€1 bn) of new investment alongside an estimated 1.4 million ft2 (130,000 m2) of laboratory and office facilities.

Plans for the campus were initially announced in 2021 and build upon the existing presence of both GSK and Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC), an organisation which provides an environment for companies to develop and commercialise advanced therapeutics.

The campus is intended to help meet the growing demand for state-of-the-art commercial and laboratory space from both emerging and established life science firms.

Jonathan Hollick, head of real estate EMEA at UBS Asset Management, 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. We look forward to leveraging UBS’ expertise in building a sustainable centre of excellence that facilitates cutting edge R&D and creates thousands of skilled jobs.'

UBS Asset Management and Reef will begin construction of the new campus in 2023 and – subject to planning permission – intend to open some elements of the site for business by 2025.

UBS and Reef are set to purchase 33 acres of land from GSK to develop the new campus. As part of this, GSK will gift land on the new campus to SBC to enable its expansion. To support this expansion, GSK and the Wellcome Trust have also agreed to waive a loan which they made to SBC in 2012.

Stevenage is already home to a significant life science cluster, including more than 40 life science companies and the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult. The vision for the new campus was developed in partnership with GSK, SBC, the UK Government, Stevenage Borough Council and the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Piers Slater, joint chief executive, 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.

'Our vision is to bring together the best of academia and industry in a diverse and world-class mix of life sciences spaces, with digital infrastructure, sustainability and connectivity at their core.'


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