Magdalen College Oxford is seeking a strategic partner to accelerate the development of The Oxford Science Park (TOSP), one of the UK’s leading parks for science and technology companies, and has appointed real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield to lead the process. With the global life science sector extremely well capitalised and making significant innovation advances, there is an increasing demand for high-quality laboratory and office space.
The science park, 100% owned and managed by Magdalen College, is home to more than 100 leading companies active across a range of therapeutic areas and technologies including infectious diseases, cancer and artificial intelligence. Many tenants have been involved in the fight against Covid-19 through vaccines, sequencing, viral vectors and test reagents.
Opened in 1991 to provide high-quality space for spin-outs and start-ups such as those emerging from the University of Oxford, TOSP houses state-of-the-art office and laboratory space across 62 acres of landscaped grounds. The many success stories among the companies on the park include:
- Oxford Nanopore, developer of genome sequencing technology that can decode the DNA and RNA of any living organism;
- Vaccitech, the immunotherapy and vaccine company behind the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, which recently floated on NASDAQ;
- OXGENE, a pioneering contract research and development organisation recently acquired by WuXi AppTec;
- Leading pharmatech company Exscientia, which has raised up to €514.6m ($625m) this year to fund its pioneering use of Artificial Intelligence for drug discovery.
Magdalen College is offering a 40% equity share in TOSP to prospective partners in a joint venture which would include the existing buildings and remaining development plots. At present, TOSP has approximately 250,000ft² of existing leased and managed buildings. Its 14.75 acres of development land has the capacity to add a further 430,000ft² to support the growth of existing occupiers and enable new companies to join the thriving campus.
The science park was originally established in 1991 as a joint venture with M&G Real Estate, one of the world’s leading property investors, with Magdalen College acquiring its 50% stake in 2016 to take sole ownership. Since then, demand for quality laboratory space has grown significantly with particularly high demand for fitted laboratory buildings locally.
Rory Maw, Bursar at Magdalen College Oxford and Director of The Oxford Science Park, said: “Beyond its unrivalled strategic location, one of the key features of The Oxford Science Park’s success has been the ability of occupiers to scale up on-site – with many starting out in incubator buildings before expanding into larger, dedicated facilities. Our role is to support the growth ambitions of existing occupiers, providing flexibility with their space requirements, and others wanting to join this unique and collaborative community. We believe a strategic partnership provides the most attractive mechanism to raise capital to accelerate the timetable for developing additional capacity to meet unprecedented demand and to further the discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship taking place at The Oxford Science Park. Magdalen College has a tradition of academic excellence and entrepreneurship. The Park upholds the College’s heritage – many of its buildings and roads are named after our famous scientific alumni – and this next step in The Oxford Science Park’s evolution develops this tradition further.”