Genomics giant Illumina blueprints new Euro HQ/science center in Cambridge, UK

Illumina CFO Marc Stapley

The gene-sequencing pioneers at Illumina ($ILMN) are planning to build a major new science center and European headquarters in the U.K.'s growing biotech hub in Cambridge. Illumina signed a lease on a 155,000-square-foot facility, designed to grow another 70,000 square feet as needed for future expansion.

Illumina struck a deal to build the new HQ with BioMed Realty, which is developing a campus next door to Cambridge University. Cambridge is also slated to become home to AstraZeneca's ($AZN) new complex, a passion project for CEO Pascal Soriot, who's determined to turn around the one-time pharma laggard.

 "This new state-of-the-art European Headquarters will provide enhanced collaboration opportunities for our growing employee base, which is so foundational to Illumina's innovation and success," says Marc Stapley, the CFO for Illumina.

Illumina knows the area well. The company's Solexa deal added operations in Cambridge and Illumina later added BlueGnome's arrays for genetic screening a few years ago.

"Illumina and BioMed Realty's commitment to building a new state-of-the art facility in Cambridge is great news for our area," said George Freeman, the undersecretary of state for life sciences. "This is a strong endorsement of the UK's Life Science Industrial Strategy and leadership in driving forward better treatments for people with cancers and rare diseases."

- here's the release

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