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Manchester Science Partnerships delivers another year of ‘strong performance’ and growth

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The UK’s leading science and technology parks operator Manchester Science Partnerships (MSP) has hailed another year of ‘strong performance’, with continued growth driven by demand from both existing customers flourishing and expanding their operations, and increasing demand from new customers attracted by MSP’s proposition and its sector clusters.

MSP creates collaborative and engaging environments across its 2m sq ft estate to support the growth of innovative science and technology companies. The company’s accounts for the year to September 2017 show a 10% increase in the group’s net worth to £58.3m.

The year saw the completion and launch in September 2017 of the Bright Building, at Manchester Science Park. Now home to the headquarters of Innovate UK’s £17m Internet of Things smart city demonstrator project - CityVerve, Mi-IDEA - Cisco and MSP’s post accelerator centre, NorthWest EHealth, Ricardo, and EvoSoft, the continued success of the business is strengthened by the appeal of locating in such close proximity to MSP’s partner and shareholder hospitals and universities, and the rate relief available from the Enterprise Zone status awarded to each campus.

Chief Executive Chris Oglesby said: “MSP’s strengths in supporting tech businesses continues to grow, with a cluster of over 80 technology companies now based on our campuses, and our Oxford Road Corridor operations recognised as a TMT sector hotspot for over 1,500 digital jobs. MSP’s unique ownership structure and relationship with the city, alongside our comprehensive programme of business support, gives us the opportunity to play a pivotal role in delivering growth and high value jobs in the tech sector and wider knowledge economy.

“We believe in the power of partnerships, people and place over just bricks and mortar, and look forward to opening our Tech Incubator at Circle Square in May 2018. The Incubator will see an increase in the support we offer to span the whole technology business lifecycle. The Incubator, designed for data science and technology innovation start-ups, will offer businesses specialist business growth services from our partners including Manchester Digital and Complete Resourcing.”

More than 300 companies within the life science, health-tech, biotech, ICT, digital and creative sectors are now based across MSP’s campuses and this will continue to grow in line with expansion plans for all three campuses. Having announced at the EuroScience Open Forum in July 2016 that the Citylabs campus would be expanding as part of a joint venture partnership with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), planning permission was granted in May 2017 to create the £60m, 220,000 sq ft Citylabs 2.0 & 3.0. Upon completion, the expanded campus is set to boost the city’s economy by more than £100m, and deliver over 1000 high-value jobs.

Chris Oglesby added: “2018 is going to be another exciting year for MSP with construction due to commence on Citylabs 2.0 in October. With a focus on predictive and preventative medicine, and an increase in the cluster of biomedical businesses already in place at Citylabs 1.0, the delivery of Citylabs 2.0 & 3.0 in partnership with MFT will form one of the largest ‘P4’ campuses in the UK - enabling IP to flow from hospitals into commercial labs, and then return ‘in a virtual revolving door’ to the healthcare system to benefit patients, thanks to rapid adoption, new data analysis, new products and treatments.”

“Working with partners within Health Innovation Manchester, Citylabs will provide a home for one of the key pillars to tackle healthcare inequality in our city, city region, and also look at increasing patient health benefits on a national and international scale.”

He noted: “Our campuses continue to offer an attractive proposition to customers from across the science and technology sector, with over 200,000 sq ft of lettings in terms or exchange, and we will continue to invest in both physical facilities, and the wider business support offering and the networks which link them.

“The international interest in our city region was palpable at both the MedTech Conference in San Jose and the roadshow in Boston in September. It will only intensify as Manchester’s health devolution agenda advances.”

At Alderley Park in Cheshire, the transformation plan has made strong progress, with over 60 life science and biotech businesses now based in the Mereside campus. Delivery of the strategy has included securing a number of new high profile customers, including Cyprotex, Evotec, Concept Life Sciences and providing the interim home of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute. The AMR Centre was also officially opened and significant growth has been experienced by the Medicines Discovery Catapult, both of whose respective work in antimicrobial resistance and drug discovery is of global significance.

Work has continued on the wider Park developments through PH Homes and PJ Livesey’s residential schemes. Significant progress has also been made on the 150,000 sq ft commercial workspace development which will provide a home for innovative, forward-thinking businesses, particularly those in tech, and is due for completion in January 2019.

With its operating model supported by robust financial figures, MSP is continuing to invest in the creation of new locations and its business support offering to continue acceleration in knowledge economy growth.

Katie Droogan