Around 2.5 million sq ft of space will be needed in the next four years due to the growth of life sciences and deep tech firms from Oxford University.

Pete Wilder, property director of Oxford Sciences Enterprises (OSE), which helps spin out firms find funding, told OxPropFest on September 14 of the exploding investment scene in the county.

He said OSE plans to invest £1 billion up to 2026 while its investors are looking to plough £4bn into the sectors in that time.

He said: “We have real confidence that this is going to be a picture of sustained growth that is going to continue into the future. We are trying to build an ecosystem of companies that are going to change the world.

“So we have pretty high ambitions but it feels like we are moving in the right direction.”

He predicted that even investors themselves, such as Bosch and Ferrari, would be seeking space in Oxford.

Using the projections of future investment, OSE has calculated the scale of demand by 2026.

Mr Wilder went on: “We came up with two and a half million sq ft of space, based on those projections, of which there’s a 50/50 split between life sciences and deep tech, so it’s clear there is a significant requirement for future supply of buildings.”

But he said is concerned as to whether the right space will be available at the right time and whether landlords will offer short leases required by small operators.

Earlier Adam Workman, head of investment for Oxford University Innovation (OUI), said it had produced five to 10 companies a year but that had now increased to 25 – 30. Over the next five years he predicted OUI would be producing 45 – 50 per year.

He said in 2014 those companies were raising around an annual total of around £200 million. Last year that reached £1.5 bn and Mr Workman said he expects that to double, or possibly triple, annually, over the next five years.

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