Jan 11 2012 by Wendy Scott, Airdrie & Coatbridge
MONKLANDS is this week celebrating a much-needed jobs boost.
The site of the former MSD/Organon research facility in Chapelhall will be transformed into a dedicated base for bioscience, pharmaceutical, and healthcare companies, creating hundreds of new jobs.
And John Swinney, the cabinet secretary for finance, employment and sustainable growth will make the announcement at the Bo’ness Road site today (Wednesday).
The joint venture between BioCity Nottingham and Roslin BioCentre has been enabled by the gifting of the site to BioCity Scotland by former occupants MSD (operating in the US and Canada as Merck & Co).
The agreement unlocks over 130,000 square feet of purpose-built laboratories and offices on the 23-acre site to support pre-clinical drug discovery and development by a range of companies.
There are also administrative and conference facilities.
Airdrie & Shotts SNP MSP Alex Neil told the Advertiser it was “a fantastic start to 2012 for Airdrie”.
Predicting that the new project will create hundreds of well-paid new jobs for the area, Mr Neil said the Scottish Government has been working for a year with BioCity Nottingham to help ensure this project came to the site vacated when MSD closed in 2010.
He added: “I am absolutely delighted with this announcement. A Phoenix has arisen from the ashes of MSD and done so in a spectacular way.
“The jobs and investment this project brings are not just high in number but brilliant in quality.
“It is especially welcome that the diversity of companies which will operate from this site means that we won’t be dependent on just one big employer.
“Having numerous firms operating from this site, many of which will be high-growth businesses, will help make these jobs more secure.
“They will provide a springboard from which many of them will grow to become big businesses.
“As both the MSP and Scotland’s cabinet secretary for infrastructure and capital investment, I am delighted that the Scottish Government has played a pivotal role in bringing this investment to Scotland. This is a major boost not just for Airdrie and Lanarkshire but for the whole of Scotland.”
Airdrie South councillor Michael Coyle also welcomed the news adding: “I am delighted with this fantastic jobs boost for the area, both as a councillor and director of Fusion Assets, which played a big part in bringing this investment to Airdrie.”
BioCity Scotland chairman Louis J. Nisbet said: “BioCity Scotland is much more than a property proposition – it will be a unique, vibrant community of scientific companies.”
Chris Hill, MSD vice-president and the former head of its Newhouse facility, said: “This is a fantastic outcome for the life sciences community in Scotland. We are delighted to have secured such an accomplished investor and a viable and exciting future for the site in such a short period of time.”
Councillor Jim McCabe, leader of North Lanarkshire Council, said: “The council’s regeneration and infrastructure service has been heavily involved in helping to make this a reality and it reaffirms my belief that North Lanarkshire is a great place to invest in and do business.”
In addition to over 130,000 sq ft of pharma-quality fully-fitted laboratory and office space, BioCity Scotland will provide access to a wide range of state-of-the-art equipment available to rent.