Magdalen College, Oxford has appointed Cushman & Wakefield to seek a strategic partner to help speed up the development of The Oxford Science Park (TOSP).

TOSP which is owned and managed by the college, is home to more than 100 leading companies, active across therapeutic areas and technologies including infectious diseases, cancer and artificial intelligence. Many tenants have been involved in the fight against Covid-19.

Magdalen College is offering a 40 per cent equity share in the park to prospective partners in a proposed joint venture which would include the existing buildings and remaining development plots.

At present, 30-year-old TOSP has approximately 250,000 sq ft of leased and managed buildings. Its 14.75 acres of development land has capacity to add a further 420,000 sq ft to support the growth of existing occupiers and accommodate new ones.

It was originally established as a joint venture with M&G Real Estate. The college acquired M&G’s 50 per cent stake in 2016 and demand for space has grown significantly since.

Rory Maw, bursar at Magdalen College and director of TOSP, said: “Beyond its unrivalled strategic location, one of the key features of The Oxford Science Park’s success has been the ability of occupiers to scale up on site – with many starting out in incubator buildings before expanding into larger, dedicated facilities.

“Our role is to support the growth ambitions of existing occupiers, providing flexibility with their space requirements, and others wanting to join this unique and collaborative community.

“We believe a strategic partnership provides the most attractive mechanism to raise capital to accelerate the timetable for developing additional capacity to meet unprecedented demand and to further the discovery, innovation and entrepreneurship taking place at The Oxford Science Park.

“Magdalen College has a tradition of academic excellence and entrepreneurship. The Park upholds the College’s heritage – many of its buildings and roads are named after our famous scientific alumni – and this next step in The Oxford Science Park’s evolution develops this tradition further.”

A multidisciplinary team of capital markets and life science specialists from Cushman & Wakefield is working on the search for a suitable partner.

David Haynes, head of UK specialist markets, said: “The Oxford Science Park represents a once in a generation opportunity to invest in one of Europe’s leading science parks with a vibrant ecosystem of globally-recognised life science tenants.”

Andrew Hawkins, international partner, capital markets, said: “There is an enormous weight of global capital targeting the life sciences sector with demand for lab space in the UK growing significantly in recent years as a result of rapid investment by international capital into life science occupiers.”

Success stories to emerge from TOSP include:

  • Oxford Nanopore, developer of genome sequencing technology that can decode the DNA and RNA of any living organism
  • Vaccitech, the immunotherapy and vaccine company behind the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine, which recently floated on NASDAQ
  • Oxygene, a pioneering contract research and development organisation, recently acquired by WuXi AppTec
  • Pharmatech company Exscientia, which has raised up to $625 million this year to fund its pioneering use of AI for drug discovery.

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