MSD signs lease on Discovery Centre and UK HQ in London

May 2022

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[Photo: Artist impression of future new Discovery Centre and Headquarters in London]

This will be a new, 25,000 square metre specialised office life sciences laboratory and office facility strategically located at the heart of London’s Knowledge Quarter

MSD announced today that the Belgrove House site, carefully identified as the location of choice for a £1bn life sciences investment by the US biopharmaceutical company has been secured.

This long-term lease will allow MSD to develop a Discovery Centre and UK HQ with the aim of ensuring that innovation is at the heart of drug discovery, whilst its position in the Kings Cross area will provide proximity to leading UK academic and industry research, access to Europe, as well as offer unique collaboration opportunities.

MSD has worked collaboratively with developer, Precis Advisory Ltd., Camden Council and the local community to get to this stage. Once developed, the discovery research centre and HQ will be home to 800 MSD employees, ranging from discovery research, clinical and support roles, to marketing, finance, and administration. 

Currently, MSD has a growing discovery research team located at the London BioScience Innovation Centre and the neighbouring Francis Crick Institute. The teams have established successful scientific collaborations with leading UK institutions including The Crick and Kings College London, as well as European biotechnology companies. In addition, MSD is a founding member of Our Future Health in the UK, and an active participant in several research consortia focused in the area of neurodegeneration, one of the biggest challenges facing healthcare.

The Belgrove House development will meet high environmental sustainability standards.  MSD will also be delivering an ambitious educational outreach programme in collaboration with Camden STEAM and is steadfast in its commitment to giving back to the local community through investment, volunteering and by providing areas of the building for the public to access and use.

The developer plans to undertake the initial demolition phase this year, with construction expected to start by early 2023, finalising in late 2027.

In early 2021, MSD’s UK HQ moved from Hertfordshire to interim offices in Moorgate to be part of a thriving life-sciences ecosystem, with unrivalled access to talent and connectivity.

Speaking, following progress to exchange on the lease, Dr Fiona Marshall, Senior Vice President and Head of Discovery, Preclinical and Translational Medicine at MSD, commented:

“MSD is proud to be delivering on our UK investment plans, with a future that puts our scientists at the heart of a vibrant centre for innovation and technology development alongside leading research institutes which include some of our current research collaboration partners.  Our mission to discover and develop therapeutics that address unmet medical needs for patients with diseases of ageing is underway in earnest, harnessing the passion and potential of world-leading scientific minds across industry and academia.”

Ben Lucas, Managing Director for MSD in the UK and Ireland, commented:

“We are delighted to have signed the lease on Belgrove House, moving us tangibly forwards in our mission to save and improve lives through investing in pioneering science.  MSD is aligned to the UK’s Life Sciences Vision and committed to playing a leading role in the ecosystem here, with a focus on an innovation partnership with UK Government and the NHS that delivers for patients.  Locally, we are focused on building a strong connection with the community and on contributing positively through our work to such a vibrant environment.”

Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London for Business, commented:

“I am delighted that London will be the home of MSD’s new Discovery Research Centre and UK Headquarters, further boosting London’s position as a world-leading life sciences hub.”

[Photo: Artist impression of future new Discovery Centre and Headquarters in London]

GB-NON-06005 | Date of Preparation May 2022