AstraZeneca changes contractors as HQ delayed again

AstraZeneca has switched building contractors in a bid to hasten progress on its delayed and over-budget new headquarters, which is under construction in Cambridge.

An AstraZeneca spokesperson told pharmaphorum in a telephone conversation that Mace Group is going to take over the next phase of construction from Skanska.

Karen Birmingham, AstraZeneca’s global media team director, said: “Skanska did a fantastic job, but we are now ready to move on with the next phase of this project and start fitting the building out with the scientific equipment. The fit-out will be carried out by the Mace Group.”

The expected completion date has been moved to 2020 and the cost of this investment has been now raised to around £500m.

The project was first announced in March 2013, when the pharma giant showed plans for the extensive, new state-of-the-art facility in Cambridge, UK.

According to plans, AstraZeneca was expecting the cost to be around £330m and the new research and development building to accommodate about 2,000 people at its opening in third quarter of 2017.

CEO Pascal Soriot revealed the project delay and the cost increase when he visited the site of in April last year, to witness the topping out of the concrete frame.

The delay and forecast project budget increase stem from extra investment in technology and equipment in the centre, rather than unrealistic estimates or poor planning, the company said.

But despite the delays the pharma giant is planning to start shifting its staff in the very near future to the new quarters in phases, including MedImmune employees based in Cambridge.

With Mace is now confirmed as the new project lead at the AstraZeneca job, this is the second time this year that the firm has stepped in to take over a Skanska contract after taking over the £1 billion Battersea Power Station redevelopment in London.

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