AstraZeneca tacks on another $100M to wrap up over-budget R&D center

AstraZeneca is budgeting another $100 million in 2022 to wrap up work on its R&D center in Cambridge, U.K. The addition brings the total costs of the over-budget and overdue research hub to $1.3 billion.

The company said in its annual report (PDF) that the extra costs are to move and install lab equipment, furniture and fixtures plus final commissioning of the building. The additional charges are expected to finalize completion of the facility, which AstraZeneca expected to move into in 2016 when the plan was first announced nine years ago, although construction didn’t begin until 2015.

When the plans to move were first announced, the R&D hub was slated to cost 330 million pounds sterling, but that ballooned overtime, which the company attributed to building costs, inflation and increased investment elsewhere. Ultimately, it could cost the company more than triple its initial projection.

In its report, the company said more than 4,000 employees are now located in the Cambridge area, although it didn’t specify how many work directly out of the facility. The facility was unveiled last November at a ceremony that included Prince Charles.

The building developments come after a year in which AstraZeneca saw revenue jump 38% compared to 2020, although there were some bumps in the road, especially on the COVID front. The company was able to supply more than 2.6 billon doses of its vaccine globally but was never able to secure FDA authorization in part due to an unforced error in how it reported clinical trial data that irked federal health officials. However, the company’s COVID treatment, Evusheld, which was developed through the National Institutes of Health's ACTIV-2 trials, did secure emergency use authorization at the end of 2021. 

In the year ahead, the company expects revenue to eclipse $40 billion even as it expects revenue from COVID treatments to decline.