Loughborough’s life sciences hub Charnwood Campus has recommissioned its world-class synthetic and chemistry research facility to the highest standard to cater to the needs of its newest occupier and leading pre-clinical discovery contract research organisation (CRO) Charnwood Molecular, in a £54m construction project.

The three-storey, state-of-the-art synthetic and chemistry research facility has been fully modernised by engineering firm Couch Perry Wilkes, following the delivery of a number of complex projects for Charnwood Campus including 33,000sqft of laboratory space for the UK Department of Health and Social Care’s Lighthouse Lab.

Part-funded (£3.5m) by the Enterprise Zone reinvestment fund facilitated through co-operation with the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) and Charnwood Borough Council (CBC), the new laboratories will provide substantial capacity for future growth and expansion of Charnwood Molecular’s medicinal chemistry and process research teams, as well as facilitate the addition of drug discovery service lines.

Through a competitive tender process, Charnwood Campus appointed CPW as the design engineers, Leicester-based Mellor Bromley as its contractors and Loughborough firm Addison Hunt to undertake project management and administration and quantity surveying roles.

Charnwood Campus Commercial Director Gosia Khrais says: “It is a great pleasure to welcome Charnwood Molecular as a new occupier here. The project is a recommissioning of an existing facility to meet the bespoke requirements of this fantastic CRO, and includes construction of a car park with EV charging points.

“Delivering the greatest value to organisations that relocate to Charnwood Campus is at the core of everything we do, and partners like Couch Perry Wilkes enable us to do just that.

“The project is part-funded by the LLEP following successful negotiation and drafting of the reinvestment mechanisms with both the LLEP and Charnwood Borough Council (CBC). This close  co-operation is playing an instrumental role in fast-tracking site development, including this project, which is fuelling job creation in the local area as well as the wider region. We are lucky to have a forward-thinking and business- and community-orientated council, as well as an open-minded and ambitious LLEP. Over the years, we have received a lot of positive feedback from local businesses and Loughborough residents. We are very humbled and grateful for that support, and we will continue to work tirelessly to facilitate job creation, accelerate economic growth and play our part in the COVID recovery effort.”

Carl Hubbard, Associate Director at Couch Perry Wilkes said: “It is a privilege to be involved in such a prestigious project to bring a state-of-the-art building back to life to support the development and growth of its ambitious new occupier, following Couch Perry Wilkes’ previous successful delivery of the Lighthouse Lab facility at Charnwood Campus. The works have extended the life and improved the building’s efficiencies and provide Charnwood Molecular with a future-proof base in which expand its team and service lines.”

Dimian Elouadihi, Director at Mellor Bromley said: “We were excited that Mellor Bromley was awarded the project following a competitive tender process. We are acting as principal contractor for the works, employed directly by Charnwood Campus. The construction works started in April 2021 and we look forward to successfully completing the project for Charnwood Campus later this year.”

Simon Collin, Equity Director at Addison Hunt added: “We are pleased to be working with Charnwood Campus in providing project management, cost management and principal designer services on this prestigious project for end-user Charnwood Molecular. This is our first project on site with Charnwood Campus and we continue to build our relationship to become its trusted partner.”

Kevin Harris, Chair of the LLEP Board of Directors said: “It is great that we have been able to help fund this project with a £3.5 million grant from our Enterprise Zone Investment Fund. Charnwood Campus is at the forefront of life sciences research, which we are very proud to specialise in at our Enterprise Zone here in Leicestershire. The grant has enabled fast tracking of the site development and will help create more highly-skilled jobs in our region.”

Cllr Jonathan Morgan, Leader of Charnwood Borough Council, said: “Charnwood’s reputation for growth and innovation continues to flourish and this is the latest example of significant inward investment to create high-skilled jobs in the area. I would like to congratulate Charnwood Campus and everyone involved on another fantastic project and wish Charnwood Molecular all the very best for the future.”

Jane Hunt, MP for Loughborough adds: “I am delighted to welcome Charnwood Molecular to our Life Science Opportunity Zone at Charnwood Campus. As you can tell by their name, the company has a strong association with Loughborough having originated in the town many years ago. I am thrilled that they will be coming to Charnwood Campus, a jewel in the Loughborough crown. The move will bring business, jobs and growth to our area and will help to create a cluster of science-based excellence that Loughborough has become renowned for in recent years.”

Charnwood Campus was the first Life Sciences Opportunity Zone in the UK and is part of the Loughborough and Leicester Science and Innovation Enterprise Zone, which covers close to 290 hectares of development land across four individual locations and focuses on science and innovation. Charnwood Campus is home to blue-chip organisations including Almac, 3M and Kindeva.