Discovery Park in Sandwich recruits 53 firms in 2021 - and promises more to come

A science, technology and innovation site says it surpassed its expectations in 2021 after attracting more than 50 new companies.

Discovery Park had said in October it hoped to sign 45 new tenants by the end of the year. But it smashed that target after 53 firms took space at the former Pfizer site.

Discovery Park has proved a popular location for firms - with more set to sign up in 2022
Discovery Park has proved a popular location for firms - with more set to sign up in 2022

The new additions took out a total of more than 46,000sq ft of office and laboratory space at the Sandwich site.

Mayer Schreiber, chief executive officer at Discovery Park, said: “Despite the Covid lockdowns with many people working from home, we finished the year on a high.

“Over the past year we saw a growing demand from innovation-based businesses, especially those in the industrial biotechnology sector, including those focused on the net zero agenda. Each new arrival is eager to work alongside like-minded entrepreneurs, as well as well-established companies with access to high quality laboratories and cluster of professional advisers.”

Among those moving to the site was power firm Cummins, which relocated 200 staff from its former base in Thanet, taking 16,500 sq ft of office space.

And bosses at the park say they expect more firms to join over the coming months.

Mayer Schreiber, Discovery Park's CEO
Mayer Schreiber, Discovery Park's CEO

Jane Kennedy, chief business officer at Discovery Park, added: “Our pipeline of enquiries remains strong, with heads of terms agreed with a number of businesses. Over the next couple of months we will be announcing the arrival of companies involved in the study of viruses and zero emission transport, focused on solving some of the most important issues of our time.”

The site had previously been used exclusively by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. However, it announced it was pulling back from the site in 2011, resulting in the loss of some 2,000 jobs.

It retains the large presence on the complex, with more than 700 staff working there.

Recognising the needs of tenants to recruit and retain skilled staff, Discovery Park recently brought together Canterbury Christ Church University, the EKC Group, Pfizer, The Stem Hub, the University of Kent and new arrival Cummins, to create the Skills Hub. It will enable tenants to offer further training to their workforce, as well as helping them find new talent to drive their businesses forward.

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