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Queen Mary University of London takes major stake in Whitechapel Life Sciences development

Queen Mary University of London has agreed a property deal with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) that paves the way for the development of a state-of-the-art life sciences centre and supports DHSC plans for a Whitechapel Life Sciences Cluster.

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This development will help to deliver a long-held local vision – shared with Barts Life Sciences, a partnership between Queen Mary and Barts Health NHS Trust, supported by Barts Charity – to establish east London as a major centre of excellence in life sciences, creating high-quality jobs and skills programmes, and attracting industry investment from start-ups to multi-national corporations. NHS Property Services are leading on the project for DHSC, involving a planning application and transaction management for the whole Cluster.

Queen Mary already has a strong presence in Whitechapel for life sciences research, innovation, education and engagement, which the new facility will substantially augment. This landmark deal underlines Queen Mary’s commitment to tackling health inequalities at a local, national and global level through world-class research, education and community engagement.

Queen Mary and Barts Health NHS Trust have a strong and long-standing partnership that has a track-record of delivering life-changing health outcomes, including for communities that are often under-represented in healthcare research and delivery, and education. Examples include the East London Genes & Health study that has helped identify the genetic determinants for specific illnesses, including Covid-19, among Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities.

The continuation of that partnership through Barts Life Sciences and the creation of this new Queen Mary facility will ensure developments in life science research will quickly lead to improvements in health outcomes both for the diverse communities of east London and people all over the world.

Minister for Innovation, Lord Kamall, said:

“From rapidly creating vaccines to identifying life-saving treatments like dexamethasone, clinical research has been vital in our fight against COVID-19 and is essential in saving thousands of lives.

“It’s crucial we continue to build on this innovation to transform our health service to ensure the NHS is able to deliver world-class care.

“This is an important step towards making the Whitechapel Life Sciences Cluster a reality. The partnership between Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust offers huge potential for the future to tackle health disparities as we build back better from the pandemic.”

Professor Colin Bailey, President and Principal at Queen Mary University of London, said:

“This is a momentous day in the history of Queen Mary University of London. Throughout our history we have driven to improve the health and educational outcomes for our local communities, and our role in the Whitechapel Life Sciences Cluster is a new chapter in that long story. Our partnership with Barts Health NHS Trust allows us to deliver world-leading research, education, training and skills provision, and life-changing health interventions for one of the most vibrant and diverse communities in the UK.

“The step we have taken today signals one of the largest research investments in Queen Mary’s history and reinforces our continued commitment to the health, wellbeing and economic success of the east London community and to the advancement of world-leading research and education.”

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said:

“The partnership between Queen Mary and Barts Health NHS Trust to create a Whitechapel Life Sciences Cluster is a major coup for Tower Hamlets. Not only will our residents benefit from better treatments and health outcomes, but the Cluster will create economic opportunities that will also change lives.

“By establishing Whitechapel as a major centre for the life sciences, the area will attract significant new investment and business opportunities, and importantly provide our young people with the chance to train and develop high quality careers in the life sciences.

“Whitechapel is steeped in history which has made it one of London’s most famous places. We are now creating a new history with major developments including the new Elizabeth Line station, the renovation of the historic Royal London Hospital building into a new town hall and now a world class life sciences hub.”

Dame Alwen Williams, Group Chief Executive at Barts Health NHS Trust, said:

“Congratulations to Queen Mary University of London on this major milestone in the development of the Whitechapel Life Sciences Cluster. I’m proud of the long-standing partnership between Barts Health NHS Trust and the University, with Barts Life Sciences being a perfect illustration of this partnership. By working together, we have blended world-leading research with the ability to create health innovations that will work at scale in the real world. And in turn, we have delivered vital improvements to the health outcomes of our local east London community and, by extension, to communities across the world. The new life sciences facility being developed on this site will help ensure Barts Life Sciences continues to pioneer healthcare innovations from bench to bedside for decades to come.”

Professor Sir Mark Caulfield, Chief Executive of Barts Life Sciences, said:

“This investment by Queen Mary is a major boost to UK Life Sciences, anchoring the entire Whitechapel Cluster with high-calibre scientific expertise and infrastructure. This ensures we can realise, with Barts Health NHS Trust, the benefits for the future health of our community of east London and beyond.”

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