Gilead Sciences will spend £13 million ($19.8 million) to double its U.K. workforce by year’s end to 600, with the creation of a new U.K. commercial headquarters in the Holborn section of London, as well as expansions of its U.K. R&D headquarters in Cambridge, and its international headquarters in the Greater London suburb of Uxbridge, U.K.
Gilead’s planned U.K. expansion was announced by London Mayor Boris Johnson yesterday on the second day of a trade mission to the U.S. by MedCity. The trade mission includes stops in New York City and Washington, D.C., as well as Boston.
MedCity is a public-private group was established by Johnson and three U.K. academic health science centers based in London—Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre, King’s Health Partners and UCLPartners. MedCity aims to position London and the U.K.’s Greater Southeast region that includes Cambridge and Oxford as a top-tier region for life science research, development, manufacturing and commercialization over the next 20 years.
According to an announcement by Mayor Johnson, Gilead reasons that a presence in London will foster closer partnerships with clinicians, patient groups, the National Health Service and government organizations, as the biotech giant continues its efforts to broaden access to its medicines.
Johnson also noted that 400 of the 600 U.K. jobs planned by Gilead through its expansion will be based in London.
“London and Boston are two of the greatest scientific cities on the planet and our phenomenal research institutions are collaborating closely to help spur the discovery of new treatments to tackle disease,” Mayor Johnson said in a statement.
Gilead opened its Stockley Park, Uxbridge, U.K. HQ in 2005. According to the company’s website, the Uxbridge offices provide centralized support for most of Gilead's operations outside the U.S. and Canada—including general management, finance, human resources, regulatory, safety, information technology, legal, medical affairs, and EU commercial compliance.
Gilead was one of two companies whose plans for expansion in the U.K. were trumpeted by Mayor Johnson and MedCity yesterday. The other was digital health company Mobiquity, which is working with Pfizer to create digital technologies intended to enable patients to improve outcomes by managing their own health. Mobiquity plans to spend £13 million ($19.8 million) over the next two years toward a new London base.
Gilead joins three pharma giants in stepping up U.K. activity over the past two years.
Pfizer has established a new gene therapy unit in London to research rare diseases, and named Michael Linden, Ph.D., professor of virology at King’s College London, to lead the unit over a two-year period, effective December 1, 2014.
In November 2014, Merck disclosed plans to spend £42 million (about $64 million) over the next three years creating a new licensing hub in London, as well as expanding research at its Hertfordshire, U.K., headquarters and funding clinical research in oncology and dementia.
Johnson & Johnson in 2013 opened a London Innovation Centre, one of five regional hubs of Johnson & Johnson Innovation formed to catalyze R&D collaborations between regional innovators and J&J.