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Connell C - LB Mar 2022

UBS Asset Management invests £66 million in cancer facility

UBS Asset Management

UBS Asset Management (UBS-AM) Real Estate & Private Markets (REPM) is providing £66 million in forward funding for a pharmaceutical facility, pre-let to Autolus Therapeutics on a 20-year lease, working with development partner Reef Estates.

UBS-AM REPM is working with development partner Reef Estates, which will develop the site with Merit Health as the underlying contractor. Stevenage Borough Council is the vendor.

Nasdaq-listed biopharmaceutical company Autolus is focused on developing CAR T-cell therapies for cancer treatment. This involves reprogramming patients’ immune T-cells so they can better recognise and kill cancer cells. This development will be the UK’s first purpose-built facility to manufacture such CAR T-cells, enabling commercialisation of Autolus’s technology. The facility is expected to create more than 400 jobs.

Stevenage’s cell and gene therapy cluster is the third-largest in the world and the town was recently classified as a High Potential Opportunity zone by the government, due to its position within the ‘golden triangle’ of academic centres at Oxford, Cambridge and London.

Jon Hollick, head of real estate EMEA (ex DACH) at UBS-AM REPM said: “The life sciences sector is a key strategic area for our business – so we’re excited to partner with Reef on this facility that will become a globally recognised hub of scientific innovation. Stevenage offers all the necessary structural drivers to support a thriving life sciences ecosystem, including a supportive local authority, access to road and air transport, and a critical mass of existing biopharma companies.”

Will Rohleder, development director at Reef Group commented: “This has been a truly fantastic public-private partnership to realise such an important facility in Stevenage town centre. Autolus has committed to Stevenage, locating its manufacturing HQ in the town and creating more than 400 jobs. The Reef team look forward to working with all parties to complete this first phase and bring forward our wider life sciences vision for the town centre over the next few years”.

Savills provided occupational advice. Investec is providing debt financing for the deal.

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