Press Releases

Topping out ceremony for landmark building

19 April 2004


A world-class centre of excellence in Cambridge, set to speed up the delivery of new ways of diagnosing, treating and preventing cancer, has entered its final phase of development today.

Leading figures from funding bodies, key stakeholders and the construction project team will gather at the Addenbrooke’s Hospital campus to celebrate the topping out of the University of Cambridge – Hutchison – Cancer Research UK Laboratory Building.

The £42 million project involves construction of 14,000 square metres of research laboratories which will house up to 300 scientists. Funding is provided by Cancer Research UK (£14 million) and Hutchison Whampoa Ltd (£16.5 million), with the remainder coming from the University of Cambridge and an anonymous donor.

Ray O’Rourke, Chief Executive of Laing O’Rourke, the main contractor, welcomed more than eighty guests to the ceremony. He said: “We are delighted to have reached this important point of this significant construction project. We now look forward to reaching a successful conclusion of this major landmark building.”

The striking five-storey building designed by Anshen/Dyer architects, will provide open plan glass-walled research facilities, a 200-seat seminar theatre, a restaurant and an exhibition area. It will add further strength to the ground-breaking cancer research already in Cambridge. Fostering collaboration between scientists and doctors, improved approaches to cancer diagnosis treatment and prevention will be developed for the benefit of cancer patients.

Innovative research is planned, including cancer genetics and the study of the earliest stages of cancer development. Bioinformatics, which is increasingly important for analysing complex research data, will be developed jointly with the University’s Department of Mathematical Sciences.

Professor Alison Richard, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cambridge said: “We are celebrating a significant milestone for cancer research worldwide. I am deeply appreciative of the significant funds provided for this facility by Hutchison Whampoa and Cancer Research UK. It is gratifying that these funds are a reflection of the outstanding quality of the research being done in this area at the University of Cambridge.”

Professor Bruce Ponder, Cancer Research UK Professor of Oncology, University of Cambridge said: “I am delighted that Cambridge has again been recognised as a world leader in medical science. The partnership between the University of Cambridge and Cancer Research UK will make a unique contribution to turning cancer research into cancer treatment.”

Cancer Research UK’s Chief Executive, Professor Alex Markham, said: “We’re very excited by the plan for the new Centre, which will put Cambridge at the forefront of cancer research not only in the UK, but indeed the world. Exciting plans for research at the Centre are already under way and we expect new cancer therapies to reach clinical trials in Cambridge as a direct result. Results from these trials should benefit cancer patients worldwide.”

Sir Ka-Shing Li, Chairman of Hutchison Whampoa, commented that he is happy to make a contribution to what is clearly one of the world’s most important centres for Cancer Research. He is also delighted that links between Cambridge University and Hutchison continue to strengthen in both the medical research and the general educational fields, thus contributing to the two-way flow of expertise and knowledge between Hong Kong, China and the United Kingdom.

The construction project is being managed by the University’s Estate Management and Building Service. It is the biggest single construction project the University has ever undertaken and marks only Phase One of a two-part research development on the Addenbrooke’s campus. Phase One began on site in July 2003, and is set to be complete in Autumn 2005. It is one of several projects made possible by the recently-opened staff multi-storey car park which has freed up land for development.

19 Apr 2004