Lord Sainsbury of Turville today ‘topped out’ a Liverpool building that is destined to be one the world’s leading research centres into tropical and emerging diseases – at the start of National Science and Engineering Week.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville performed the ceremony at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine’s new Centre for Tropical and Infectious Diseases (CTID). The £23 million state of the art facility will bring new hope to millions by generating and trialling drugs, vaccines and insecticides that will directly improve health in the developing world. It is already attracting scientists from across the world and will add to the growing importance of the North West of England in worldwide biotechnology.
Commenting on the new building, Lord Sainsbury said: “This is scientifically a very exciting project, which has the potential not only to help improve the health of millions of people in the developing world but also to give a boost to the biotechnology cluster in the North West. It will also mean that the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine is able to maintain its position as one of the leading research institutes in tropical medicine in the world.”
The Centre is on schedule to be completed by the end of this year. The Northwest Regional Development Agency and the European Objective One Programme have each given £9 million towards the project. There has also been substantial support from, among others, Liverpool City Council, the Wolfson Foundation and the University of Liverpool.
The Director of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Professor Janet Hemingway, said that the CTID will be at the heart of LSTM’s long term plans to generate products that will directly improve health in the developing world: “We have made significant contributions to health in the tropics for over a century from our existing building. This magnificent new facility will give us the potential to make an even greater impact for the sake of the world’s poorest people struggling against disease. It will bring together under one roof a multidisciplinary team of scientists with the capability of taking a scientific idea from the molecule to a final product capable of improving health.”
Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive at the NWDA - which supported the development of the centre through its dedicated biotechnology support group Bionow - said: “This innovative centre will significantly enhance the biotechnology sector on Merseyside, which makes an important contribution to the regional economy. By 2015 the centre is expected to have worked with around 250 biotech firms and helped create around 640 highly skilled jobs. It will also contribute to the regeneration of Liverpool, bringing 1800 sq m of brownfield land back into productive use.”
Richard Nutter, Head of European Programmes at Government Office for the North West, said: "We are very pleased to be supporting this prestigious project which confirms Merseyside's growing influence in UK biotechnology. We look forward to the completion and opening of the Centre and to the benefits it will bring for the further development of Merseyside’s scientific skill base and a knowledge-driven economy for the region."
Vaughan Burnand, Chief Executive of Shepherd Construction, who are building the Centre, said: “Shepherd are extremely pleased to be working on a prestigious project like this. This is a significant point in the project and demonstrates the excellent working relationship between ourselves and LSTM.”
The new building will house ground breaking research on malaria vector control as part of a $50 million grant to the Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Vital work to develop new, cheaper anti-malarial drugs will also be undertaken at the Centre as part of the LSTM-led AntiMal consortium, supported by an additional £10 million award from the European Union. The CITD will provide some 7,000 square metres of laboratory, write up and office space over four floors and will bring 1,800 square metres of brownfield land back into productive use. It is currently providing 270 temporary construction jobs and will support up to 640 new jobs once established.
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