Published: 17:12, 20 February 2020
| Updated: 17:13, 20 February 2020
Discovery Park has been awarded a new status pushing it further towards its vision of becoming a world class centre of science excellence.
The business park in Sandwich is one of six places throughout the UK to today be awarded Life Sciences Opportunity Zone (LSOZ) status, by the Government.
The prestigious designation reflects the park's strengths and growth potential particularly across advanced manufacturing, digital and artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare and enables it to be more clearly recognised for its growing community of businesses.
It is hoped to attract more investors both in the UK and globally which in turn will create more jobs.
Discovery Park chairman Dr Martino Picardo said: "It's an opportunity to create new jobs and help to grow the economy locally in life science and bio medicine and also have an impact on patient benefit through new drugs, treatments and devices."
The growing science park had to submit an application which was reviewed by industry experts and government officials.
They were impressed by its continuing development 'with a focus on advanced manufacturing and AI and with the continued support of anchor companies such as Pfizer'.
Dr Picardo added: "Not only in the last couple of years has Pfizer created new jobs but they've convinced their corporate management in New York and Boston that Sandwich is a key strategic site.
"That means that the £15million capital investment that they've made on the site and the creation of over 45-50 jobs on the site will continue.
"They have ambitions and aspirations to create what they call a digital hub that will be transformative in manufacturing moving forwards.
"What that helps us to do is attract inward investment from American, Chinese, Japanese companies who want to be close to one of the biggest global pharmaceutical companies and they happen to be based in Sandwich.
"That will help us to grow this Life Science Opportunity Zone."
Brian Henry, vice president of medical science at Pfizer R&D UK Ltd said: "LSOZ status will be a significant catalyst for the delivery of the Discovery Park vision, and the resultant influx of investment and talent will add to the vibrant environment here."
MP Craig Mackinlay said: "The economy has been growing at about 1.5% a year but the life sciences, STEM technologies, have been growing at 5-6% so this place is in the right industry, at the right time, and will help create some fantastic local jobs."
Discovery Park is home to around 160 companies employing 3,500 people.
Over the past seven years it has been growing as a multi-business science campus but growth has soared in the last 18 months thanks to the appointment of new chairman Dr Martino Picardo and CEO Mayer Schreiber.
They have secured planning permission for a Travelodge on site, allowing for better accessibility for national and international visitors.
Dr Picardo said: "What we have is a master plan and a vision for this site to become world class. That needs to be inclusive and exclusive of all sorts of companies, not just in life sciences.
"In order to make this a go-to destination, it has to include ambitions for housing, for retail, for a garage and all of these things are coming into place and you will see over the next 12 months a change in face and a change in culture at Discovery Park. It's an exciting time."
More by this authorEleanor Perkins