The government has launched a second Investment Zone in Liverpool focused on life sciences.

An initial £10 million investment will be made by US pharmaceutical manufacturer TriRx, to enhance its capabilities to manufacture monoclonal antibodies, a type of immunotherapy that work by blocking certain diseases from affecting healthy cells and are used to treat numerous types of diseases including cancers, arthritis and skin conditions.

The government says the investment in Liverpool’s existing Speke Pharma cluster – home to one of the UK’s leading regions for bioprocessing – is the first step in unlocking a total pipeline up to £320 million of further private funding from a range of investors in the life sciences sector, helping to deliver over 4,000 jobs across Liverpool, Runcorn, St. Helens, Maghull and Prescot over the next five years.


Backed by £80m in government funding, the Investment Zone will benefit from a range of interventions which could include skills, infrastructure and tax reliefs, depending on local circumstances – with the potential to completely transform the region, making Liverpool a pharmaceutical production superpower.

The government will continue to work with the Liverpool City Region, University of Liverpool and other local partners to co-develop the plans for their Life Sciences Investment Zone, including agreeing priority development sites and specific interventions to drive cluster growth, over the summer, ahead of final confirmation of plans.

Minister Lee Rowley welcomed the first of those investments as he met executives from US pharmaceutical manufacturer TriRx at their state-of-the-art biotech facility in Speke.

“Investment Zones will drive growth across the UK. For Liverpool City Region that means over £300 million of private investment and 4,000 new, well-paid jobs – all building on the city’s world leading reputation in medical science,” said Rowley.

It follows news of the first advanced manufacturing Investment Zone in South Yorkshire, announced earlier this month, which has backing from Boeing and partners.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “Our area is fortunate to play home to world-leading clusters in life science research and innovation, which support thousands of secure, well-paid jobs and training opportunities for local people. 

“I am incredibly proud of what our region has achieved in the sector – but this is just a down payment on my future ambitions. I want us to go even further and establish our region at the forefront of UK science and innovation.

“With a potential £310m worth of investment and thousands of local jobs on offer, it is clear that this is an opportunity worth exploring. Yet, throughout this process, I have been clear that any investment in our area must go much further than purely financial incentives. 

“I want to use our status as a force for good, to connect our residents up to secure, well-paid jobs and training opportunities, and attract transformational investment into our area.

“To play our part in making that happen, we will be investing 5% of GVA in R&D over the next few years – that is nearly double national targets. Becoming an innovation superpower might sound like a lofty ambition – but I believe that if anywhere has the potential to achieve it, then it’s the Liverpool City Region.”

The health and life sciences sector already contributes an estimated £290m to the Liverpool City Region’s economy every year. Building on this strength, the new Investment Zone includes the University of Liverpool and is part of the government’s vision to drive growth in the sectors of the future including advanced manufacturing, green industries, digital and technology.

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Mark Proctor, AstraZeneca Site Lead for Speke said: “AstraZeneca welcomes the establishment of the Liverpool City Region Investment Zone focussed on life sciences, which has the potential to attract more businesses to the region’s already thriving medicine development and manufacturing cluster.

“We employ 400 people at our site in Speke to manufacture our intranasal influenza vaccine, used in the UK for the child and adolescent immunisation programme and exported to markets around the world.

“The site has the potential to expand into new technology platforms for vaccines and we look forward to working with the Liverpool City Region to identify opportunities to develop these capabilities in the coming years.”

Six more Investment Zones are to be announced in England. There will also be two in Scotland, with Glasgow City Region and North East of Scotland offering the most potential to host these. Discussions will now begin with both regions to develop detailed proposals.

Each was invited to identify an Investment Zone that offered an imaginative partnership between local government and a university or research institute in a way that catalyses emerging innovation clusters.

As well as delivering jobs and driving economic growth, investment zones will be used to help provide new housing in areas of need, according to the government.

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