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Discovery Park celebrates five years as a 'beacon of opportunity'

Discovery Park brought together tenants and special guests for a garden party in the grounds of the iconic Sandwich science business park for a special birthday celebration.

The event – marking the site’s fifth year as a multi-business science hub -  comes as the owners are close to the completion of the first phase of a £20m investment programme.

Going from just five companies in 2012, the site now has more than 150 businesses employing some 3,000-people, working in a world-class environment.

Toby Hunter, Chief Executive, Discovery Park said: “Having been in property for 30 years, it’s an honour to say I have never felt so proud to be part of a business like I do with Discovery Park. It’s an amazing place to be and a fantastic place to work, and everyone should be rightly proud of what they’ve created here.

“So much of what we have achieved is thanks to the help of Kent County Council and Dover District Council – we have never come across a local authority who is as open for business as DDC. Similarly, the support from KCC is wholly down to its strong and proactive team.

“Looking to the future, we are currently working on 50,000sqft of new lab space in Discovery Park House, which will create space for up to 300 new chemists to join us. Work is due to start on that in November and will continue throughout 2018. We’ve got an enquiry from a big organisation for 60,000sqft which will bring another 400 jobs to the park.

“We’ve got our own power coming to the site, which will be known as Kent Renewables, in 2018. We’re planning a GMP village, which will provide new facilities behind Innovation House. We’re also looking to embark on vertical farming, which will be fantastic for Kent and great for science. There have been many exciting milestones over the last five years and we are confident in seeing this success grow over the next five years and beyond.”

Julian Thompson, Head of Site at Pfizer, said: “Pfizer first established operations here in Sandwich in 1954, to make penicillin on a large-scale. Today, around 700 colleagues are based at the site focusing on a number of critical functions for Pfizer that support in developing and delivering medicines to patients in more than 120 countries around the world.

“We appreciate the ongoing partnership with our landlord DP Management to maintain business continuity for our operations and providing us the stimulating environment we work in. We look forward to continuing to work with the site owners to attract more businesses to Discovery Park.”

Mark Dance, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at KCC, said: “Discovery Park provides world-class facilities for the life and bioscience sector in the South East, ably supported by accounting, marketing and legal firms – you do not need to go outside the perimeter of the site. Now this is a powerful business case. Here, deals are struck over lunch in the canteen or at the summer BBQ.

“We’ve all massively gained from the contribution that Discovery Park makes to the local economy. We’d also like to thank Discovery Park for all the work they do for the community.

“The transition of the site to the new owners has been absolutely seamless, and we’re delighted because they have made the success of today – we’re all here to celebrate Discovery Park.”

Cllr Paul Watkins, Leader of Dover District Council said: “Discovery Park is a beacon of opportunity for high-tech skills and jobs in the Dover district.  Five years on and the site is now writing the next chapter in the story of Sandwich as a centre for pharmaceutical and technological innovation. 

“Now home to a diverse community of businesses and employing more than 3,000 people, Discovery Park is one of the most successful Enterprise Zones in the country.

“That success is due to the commitment of the owners, tenants, and the local community in working with us to grow the site.  With more developments underway and a strengthening science and pharma role planned for the site I look forward to celebrating another five years of growth at Discovery Park.”

Cllr Sue Chandler, Chairman of Dover District Council, said: “It's hard to believe that it's only Discovery Park's 5th anniversary, as the achievements in that time have been amazing.

“Everyone involved in this journey- from politicians working together at all levels, to the people working at ground level - has had an unassailable, can-do attitude, which has brought us here today to celebrate the tenants and employees who are now here. 

“The benefits to our local businesses and local economy are unquestionable. East Kent College and Canterbury Christchurch both have students studying and working onsite with companies here. The community labs set up by Pfizer onsite are providing science experiences to schools, and thereby continuing to make a great contribution to education in our community. The number of STEM ambassadors onsite is something that Discovery Park is quite rightly proud of. The work they do is supporting the next generation is invaluable. The annual science jamboree sees hundreds of school children enjoying science in a hands on way - effective in drawing young people into the world of science. 

“Congratulations to everyone involved over the last 5 years, for everything they contribute to our community and particularly from me, for everything they do for our young people. I'm looking forward, confidently, to the future of Discovery Park in Sandwich.”

For media interviews and further details please contact Rebecca Daniels or Lee Winter at Pillory Barn on 01622 684407 or email: Rebecca@pillorybarn.co.uk or lee@pillorybarn.co.uk

Editor’s Notes

Meet the businesses

Discovery Park is now home to more than 150 companies, from science research and GMP manufacturing to Patent Attorneys and recruiters plus a growing education sector, looking to build the skills and talent of the next generation. 

Science and Technology

Centauri Therapeutics and Agalimmune lead a growing cluster of bio-tech companies on site that have built an expertise in the field of immunotherapy, using the body’s own defences to fight cancer and life-threatening disease.

Finding the next generation of antibiotics is another big area of research with other companies like A4PBio providing the logistical support to support research anywhere in the world.

Add in Mylan, the world’s biggest generic medicine manufacture, the European headquarters of Genea Biomedx and, of course, Pfizer, and you get the picture of how Discovery Park continues to play a pivotal role in drug development.

Recent arrivals, such as asbestos detection firm Alert are an example of how Discovery Park is working as a place for new businesses to take their ideas from concept to the market place, in collaboration with another one of our tenants, investment business NCL Innovation.

Education

There is no better example of the collaboration that takes place at Discovery Park than Canterbury Christ Church University’s Industry Liaison Laboratory, which gives students real life industry experience, linking up with tenants on site for PhD research. 

East Kent College gave also played a huge role in developing relationships with other businesses at Discovery Park, from linking apprenticeships with other tenants to joint projects such as the Community Lab, run in conjunction with Pfizer.

Start Ups and General Office

More than 25 business have taken their first steps on their business journey in Discovery Park’s Start Up Zone over the past five years with recruitment agency, Inspire People, among those to see their fledgling business take off.

Top Villas, Horizonscan, Wilkins Kennedy, Angle Studios and Woodley Coles are among the companies to have enjoyed success, part of a general business community that also includes the likes of Hornby, Kreston Reeves  and our latest arrival, Your Bar and Grill.

About discovery park

  • Discovery Park is among Europe’s leading science and technology parks, based on the outskirts of Sandwich, Kent
  • The park is an Innovation Cluster where companies and organisations are encouraged to work together and share knowledge
  • Providing world class facilities, Discovery Park has attracted a host of international companies from the life science, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, science and technology sectors
  • Facilities include research and development laboratories and specialist niche manufacturing facilities, commercial office space and warehouse solutions
  • Discovery Park benefits from Enterprise Zone status
  • Discovery Park is home to more than 150 companies employing 3,000 employees.

 

Posted on 18/09/2017