Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has officially opened a high-tech scientific research & development building at londoneast-uk business and technical park.
The Cube, a post-incubator science facility for small and growing companies, provides science-related businesses with access to specialist laboratories at the Park in Dagenham, East London. It has been created by refurbishing facilities on a site formerly owned by pharmaceutical manufacturer Sanofi and transforming them for use by multiple firms.
Officially opening The Cube today Mr Khan said: “I am delighted to see that this site has been regenerated and brought into use as another feather in the cap of London’s great life sciences industry. London is open as a global hub for scientific discovery and the development of cutting-edge new technologies.”
The Mayor added: “The GLA have been working with londoneast-uk and the local authority since 2012 to identify how we could help unlock this site, formerly occupied by a global pharmaceutical manufacturer. It’s great to see these facilities back in use, attracting leading international science businesses to London.”
He said: “It’s another great example of how London is open for business and we can work together to make the city even better in future for citizens, with new jobs, and businesses, with new premises that meet their exact needs. Creating this new home for cutting edge R&D in East London is a remarkable regeneration story, as the specialist laboratory, manufacturing and office buildings at this site would cost tens of millions of pounds to create from scratch. In fact, the operators estimate that The Cube alone would cost around £10 million to construct today.”
The Cube has been created with support of a £500,000 investment loan from the London Enterprise Panel’s Growing Places Fund (GPF) which has helped finance the post-incubator science facility. The GPF loan unlocked £2.5 million of private investment from SOG Group, the owner and operator of londoneast-uk, along with match funding from the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, worth a further £826,000. In total over £3.8 million has been made available to cover refurbishing and equipping the building.
Mr Khan added: “I’d like to thank londoneast-uk business and technical park, who have masterminded this project, and congratulate my own regeneration officers for working in partnership with them to give this site a useful future after so many years. Start-ups and existing companies need these kind of facilities to develop and expand. There is an acute shortage of science R&D space her in London, which is why projects like this are so important to our city and its economy.”
John Lewis, Managing Director of londoneast-uk, said: “The GLA have taken an intelligent approach with the Growing Places Fund by making smaller pockets of funding available for projects like ours that have a really positive impact on protecting facilities that would otherwise have been demolished, and to generate new jobs. A relatively small loan from The Mayor’s GPF fund has unlocked private investment and funding support from the local council worth over £3m for this project – and the £500,000 loan will be repaid for re-investment on other schemes in the future. The Mayor’s GPF initiative is a really intelligent approach to help businesses growth and attract international investment. Our project is a further example of how London is open for business and the great opportunities as London continues to grow and expand east.”
The support from the Mayor of London and the local authority in Barking and Dagenham has been crucial in helping Londoneast-uk fund the creation of The Cube. This investment is further evidence of the massive growth within in the borough and underpins that London is expanding east with fantastic opportunities for business.”
Mr Lewis took The Mayor on a tour of the building and introduced him to The Cube’s first tenant Sensor Coating Systems (SCS) which specialises in thermal paints and coatings for use in industries such as automotive, aviation and power generation. Mr Khan met SCS’s Managing Directors Dr Jorg Feist (pictured right), Chairman Will Iselin and members of their technical team and tried his hand at working some of the high-tech equipment.
The Mayor was also introduced to representatives from MAN Diesel & Turbine, a Volkswagen company, active in the power generation business, who have signed a 5-year framework agreement with SCS which was announced during the Mayor’s visit. Mr Lewis said: “This announcement is obviously great news for Sensor Coating Systems but also for The Cube as it demonstrates that The Cube’s tenants are already attracting big international businesses to invest in London.”
The Mayor also met students Jade Walker and Harry Dardis (pictured below) from Barking & Dagenham College who helped to refurbish the building as part of a unique construction industry training and apprenticeship programme developed in collaboration with Londoneast-uk. The strategic alliance focuses on developing student and apprentice training and work opportunities at the Park to enable them to improve their skills. The students’ first project was to refurbish londoneast-uk’s Visitor Centre, and they have played a key role in the refurbishment of The Cube.
Mr Khan said: “I commend londoneast-uk and Barking & Dagenham College for the alliance they have formed to give students hands-on experience at development sites like the londoneast-uk Visitor Centre and The Cube here. Making sure businesses and Londoners get the skills they need to succeed is a key priority for my administration. My Skills for Londoners taskforce will help to ensure that all Londoners have the opportunity to train in the skills that our economy needs, and will look to learn from the good practice of programmes like this one.”
The Cube will ultimately accommodate up to 15 science-related businesses employing more than 90 people with Londoneast-uk helping to ensure all companies moving to The Cube can access a wide range of specialist technical support which the site can also provide.
Sarah Haywood, CEO at MedCity, said: “World leading scientific innovation is a major driver of the UK economy and the Golden Triangle is at the heart of that. To keep building on this we must have space for innovation to thrive and the opening of these high quality “grow-on” labs is a vital addition to the mix of life sciences space across the South East.
“The Cube, alongside development at Imperial White City, the Francis Crick Institute and major expansions in Cambridge say to the world that we are open for business; we are open for science.”.