The United Kingdom Centre for Medical Research and Innovation

Many recent safety breaches at UK labs handling lethal viruses

December 6, 2014
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Robert Henderson
The Guardian  have obtained worrying data on the escape of dangerous viruses from supposedly high security laboratories in the UK:
The Guardian
Revealed: 100 safety breaches at UK labs handling potentially deadly diseases
Blunders led to live anthrax being posted from one lab and holes being found in isolation suits at a facility handling Ebola-infected animals
The ‘containment floor’ of the National Institute for Medical Research
Nine UK sites house CL4 labs, including the National Institute for Medical Research, which studies pandemic and avian flu. P
Ian Sample, science editor
Thursday 4 December 2014 12.31 GMT
High-security laboratories that handle the most dangerous viruses and bacteria have reported more than 100 accidents or near-misses to safety regulators in the past five years, official reports reveal.One blunder led to live anthrax being sent from a government facility to unsuspecting labs across the UK, a mistake that exposed other scientists to the disease. Another caused the failure of an air handling system that helped contain foot and mouth disease at a large animal lab.

Wear and tear also caused problems and potentially put researchers in danger. At a top security Ministry of Defence lab, tears were found in isolation suits at a facility handling animals infected with the Ebola virus.

Reports obtained by the Guardian from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reveal that more than 70 incidents at government, university and hospital labs were serious enough to investigate. Many led to enforcement letters, or crown prohibition notices (CPN), ordering labs to shut until improvements were made. Some were so serious they ended in legal action.

Anthrax cells.
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Anthrax cells. Photograph: Alamy
Prof Richard Ebright, a US biosafety expert at Rutgers University in New Jersey, who reviewed the reports for the Guardian, said that, taken together, they revealed failures in procedures, infrastructure, training and safety culture at some British labs.

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Alarmed at a run of incidents at facilities that work on animal diseases, Ebright asked: “Does British agriculture have a death wish?”

The figures amount to one investigation every three weeks at secure laboratories that are designed to carry out research on pathogens that can cause serious illness and spread into the community. Some of the organisms are lethal and have no vaccines or treatments.

Many of the incidents were one-off, almost inevitable human mistakes, such as spillages of infectious bugs. Others were down to old equipment and safety clothing. The most serious accidents arose from chains of mistakes that happened one after the other, and were often only discovered later.

The reports compiled by the HSE describe at least 116 incidents and 75 completed investigations since April 2010 at laboratories where the most dangerous organisms are handled. Other investigations are under way, but the HSE cannot disclose details of those in case they lead to legal action. All of the investigations were prompted by reports from lab managers who are obliged by law to tell the HSE when an accident or near-miss happens at their facility.

Backstory
The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Weybridge, Surrey.
The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency in Weybridge, Surrey. Photograph: Rex Features/Rex Features
Some of the most worrisome incidents happened at the Surrey-based Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), renamed the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) in October. In one case, scientists were handling anthrax when something went badly wrong. They meant to send harmless samples, killed by heat, to nearby AHVLA labs and others in York and Belfast. But somehow the tubes got mixed up. Instead of sending out dead material, the anthrax they sent was live and dangerous.

The staff who made the mistake were safe enough. They worked in a high-security lab built to contain lethal agents. But some of those who received the bugs did not. In Belfast, the anthrax was handled in a higher containment lab, meaning those staff were safe. In York, the samples were never opened. But at another AHVLA site, scientists opened the tubes in a less secure lab and got to work on the open bench. The incident at the AHVLA is one of the more serious biological accidents that has happened in the UK in recent years. But it was far from being the only one.
 
Read more at
This article confirms what I said in my objections to the Francis Crick Institute Laboratory presently being built in King Cross, viz:
 
“Security
Security issues alone should prevent the research centre being built.  The centre would be a prime terrorist target  because (1) there are three iconic sites in the closest proximity – the Eurostar terminal, the British Library and the Medical Research Centre itself; (2) the nature of the work to be undertaken at the Centre – the public information released to date suggests that it will be handling dangerous material and (3), all three of the major British political parties have given it enthusiastic public support which both raises its public profile and attaches it to national politics -hit the centre = hit the politicians – (see document 23).
Whether as a result of a terrorist attack or a failure of bio-security the consequences of an escape of  dangerous biological agents would be severe, both in terms of any contamination of people and by the economic effects on London (and by extension the country) which the fear generated by the escape of toxins would bring.
I have been attempting without success to get answers about the security arrangements for the proposed research centre since 2007. (For my dealings with the consortium and its individual members on security and other matters see documents 10-22).
My requests have been turned down on the grounds that this would breach security. This is a bogus ground for refusal because I deliberately did not ask for detailed operational accounts of their security, which would compromise security,  but general issues such as whether the security staff will be employed directly by the centre; whether the staff will have been raised in Britain (vetting foreigners is in practice impossible); how cleaners (normally a weak point in security because they work at night when security is minimal); how toxic materials will be transported in and out of the centre and whether the security staff would be armed, something absolutely necessary if there is a threat of terrorist attacks especially if they involved suicide bombers.
The real reason why the consortium will not comment is they do not have a clue about how their security will work. The UKCMRI CEO John Cooper gave the game away at a meeting convened by St Pancras and Somers Town Planning Action and  held on 4 10 2010 in the Somers Town Community Centre when he said that their security arrangements would not be decided for three years. It is absurd to allow people who have not considered in detail  the security issues involved before submitting a planning application to be granted that application, not least because the design and situation of the building should be taking these issues into account as one of the primary drivers of the design.
The security, both bio and anti-terrorist,  is particularly compromised by the intention of the consortium to allow scientists who are not employed by the consortium to carry out research. These people could be either from non-profit organisations or private firms:
“There will be dedicated space for technology transfer and additional lab space to enable the findings of the research teams within the centre to be developed and translated into clinical applications by scientists from pharmaceutical companies and partners.” The Bliss Project Concept and Vision (see document 7)
This raises two security problems: the vetting of such people and the lack of a single authority responsible for the security of the centre.   This is precisely what happened at Pirbright which was split between government and private business with no one in overall control (see document 9). Come the foot and mouth outbreak of 2007 no one would take responsibility with both sides blaming the other.
Thorough vetting of those who come from abroad would be impracticable and vetting of anyone born and raised in Britain but who has spent substantial periods of time abroad problematic. These considerations would be relevant to both scientists and other staff, many of whom would be foreign or have spent long periods out of the country.
I would also draw the planning committee’s attention to the fact that Islamic extremism is seen by the government as a growing problem in British universities (see document 5) and that one of the consortium’s members – UCL – has been recently had a student-  Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab – who went on to try to commit a terrorist act (see document 6).
The limited access proposed for the public would also be a weak link in the security.
Things are no more promising on the bio-security side. At the meeting of 4 10m 2010,  John Cooper promised that nothing more dangerous than influenza viruses would be in the centre. However, this  was meaningless because, as he very grudgingly admitted, there would be legal bar to this policy  being changed at some point in the future. Moreover, ‘flu viruses can be extremely toxic, vide the 1918 epidemic which swept Europe and caused more deaths than had occurred in military action during the Great War.
There is good reason to believe that toxins officially classified as more dangerous than influenza will be used. The MRC site in Mill Hill – the site Brill Place is meant to replace –  has 11 laboratories licenced for level 3 biohazards and one licensed for level 4 biohazards (see document 3).  The license for level 3 work allows the following to be used for research:
Biohazard Level 3: Bacteria and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans, but for which vaccines or other treatments exist, such as anthrax, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, SARS virus, variola virus (smallpox), tuberculosis, typhus, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Among parasites Plasmodium falciparum, which causes Malaria, and Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes trypanosomiasis, also come under this level.
The consortium is applying for level 3 licenses for the proposed medical centre. Once they have these they can work on any of the viruses and bacteria listed above regardless of what is promised now.
Presumably whatever work the MRC has been conducting under the level 4 licence will continue. If it comes to the new centre work on these toxins would be covered:
Biohazard Level 4: Viruses and bacteria that cause severe to fatal disease in humans, and for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, H5N1(bird flu), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, hantaviruses, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other hemorrhagic diseases. When dealing with biological hazards at this level the use of a Hazmat suit and a self-contained oxygen supply is mandatory. The entrance and exit of a Level Four biolab will contain multiple showers, a vacuum room, an ultraviolet light room, autonomous detection system, and other safety precautions designed to destroy all traces of the biohazard. Multiple airlocks are employed and are electronically secured to prevent both doors opening at the same time. All air and water service going to and coming from a Biosafety Level 4 (P4) lab will undergo similar decontamination procedures to eliminate the possibility of an accidental release.
If the level 4 work is not to come to the proposed research centre the consortium’s claim that their work has to be done at the Brill Place siteis discredited. If it does come to the site then risk is raised considerably. As to whether it  will come to the site, answers given by John Davidson at a meeting held 11 10 2010 in the Ossulton TRA Hall  provide a strong pointer. Questioned by myself, he stated that the Mill Hill facility would definitely be closed if and when the centre was built and he could not rule out all the Mill Hill work being moved to the Brill Place site including the level 4 risk work.
The DCMS were certainly led to believe that the centre would deal with viruses other than influenza, viz.:
“4. MRC anticipates that some £205 m of additional investment will be secured from consortium partners for the development of the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation. This is investment which would otherwise be Lost to the public purse. This additional investment in the work of the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) will support the delivery of high quality research on:
“ The origins of the AIDS epidemic, detecting tuberculosis (TB) infection, variations in the structure of the bird flu virus H5N1 all of which could Lead to more effective breakthroughs in drug development. Scientists at NIMR have also:- (With the University of Hong Kong) isolated the gene responsible for sensory development in the inner ear, which may lead to significant advances in the development of treatments for the deaf and those with severely impaired hearing; and determined the structure of the enzyme that regulates cellular energy levels which could lead to new drugs for type II diabetes, an illness that affects more than two million people in the UK. Taken together, these important results emerging from the UKCMRI could substantially improve the quality of life and allow those who benefit from the findings to continue to make their important contribution to the economy.” (See DCMS Q and A – document  4)
Every large organisation which has security issues always says their security is very tight and time and again the security fails. Pirbright said  exactly this before they had to admit that they were at fault. The members of the consortium say this. The MRC recently were involved in lax procedures which resulted in the death of a patient, viz.:
“Daily telegraph
Man dies in government cancer drug trial A man about to get married has died in a government-funded medical trial after receiving seven overdoses of drugs.
By Jon Swaine
Last Updated: 7:50PM BST 21 Sep 2008
Gary Foster, 27, was repeatedly given twice the amount of chemotherapy drugs he should have been prescribed. He was due to be married this month. Reports have said his death was caused by an error in the setting up of the trial on the computer system at University College London Hospital (UCLH). A second patient was affected by the same mistake, but survived. When the MRC suspected patients had been given overdoses, instead of calling the hospital immediately it wrote a letter – which a nurse at UCLH failed to open until two days after Mr Foster had died…” (see document 8).”
It is wildly improbable that there will not be a breach of security, either through negligence or terrorist action, from the Francis Crick Institute (FCI), which will be dealing with some of the most dangerous viruses.
Situated where the FCI is, any escape of pathogens would be unambiguously disastrous. It is next door to Eurostar Terminal  and St Pancras Station,  a few hundred yards from Kings Cross and Euston stations, a few yards from the British Museum and only the width of a street from residential housing on its Western boundary. Huge numbers of commuters and visitors to London pass through the area every day. It would be difficult to think of another part of London which would cause as much disruption in the event of the escape of dangerous viruses. Permitting the  building of the FCI on such a site is an act of criminal negligence by the planning authorities.

 


Do you want this potential terrorist target to be in the centre of London?

November 11, 2012
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The United Kingdom Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) was granted planning permission for a research laboratory on 16 December 2007 . This is a consortium comprised of the Medical Research Council (a taxpayers funded body) , Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and University College London which is part of London University. The Laboratory is now named the Francis Crick Institute and building is underway on a site directly behind the British Library in central London.

If built the research centre will be handling dangerous viruses which are permitted under a level 3 biohazard licence, viz:

“Biohazard Level 3: Bacteria and viruses that can cause severe to fatal disease in humans, but for which vaccines or other treatments exist, such as anthrax, West Nile virus, Venezuelan equine encephalitis, SARS virus, variola virus (smallpox), tuberculosis, typhus, Rift Valley fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, yellow fever, and malaria. Among parasites Plasmodium falciparum, which causes Malaria, and Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes trypanosomiasis, also come under this level.”

The Medical Research Council currently handles even more toxic viruses n their Mill Hill site, namely, those which are permitted under a level 4 biohazard licence, viz.:

“Biohazard Level 4: Viruses and bacteria that cause severe to fatal disease in humans, and for which vaccines or other treatments are not available, such as Bolivian and Argentine hemorrhagic fevers, H5N1(bird flu), Dengue hemorrhagic fever, Marburg virus, Ebola virus, hantaviruses, Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and other hemorrhagic diseases.”

To place such research on the site would be criminally irresponsible under any circumstances even if both the physical security and biohazard hygiene were first rate because of the risks of a terrorist attack. However, there can be no rational public confidence that will be the case because UKCMRI have persistently refused to give any details about how their security arrangements will be handled, even in terms which would not compromise their security, such as saying whether armed guards will be used or even whether the security will be directly employed by the consortium or sub-contracted out. There will also be groups working within the centre who are not directly working for the consortium and the public will have access to some areas. To undertake the building of the centre under these circumstances would not be merely criminally reckless but touch the confines of lunacy.

There are also issues with the disruption caused by building and the contamination of the bidding process for the site by Gordon Brown, who interfered with the process even before the formal bidding period was ended. Details of these issues can be found in my objection to the planning application which forms the first posts in the blog, as well as the detailed objections on security grounds. All the objections to the planning application which require proof are supported by documents.

Write to your MP and complain. Raise a stink wherever you can.


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Links to all UKCRMI blog posts

November 11, 2012
2 Comments
Just click on the post title and it will take you to that post
The new leader of the Greens knows how to keep mum
MPs back £660million medical research superlab
UKCRMI to become The Francis Crick Institute
MPs back £660million medical research superlab
New Scientist reports on the Science and Technology Committee’s reservations about UKCRMI’s location
Notification of the contamination of the bidding process to the lead contractor
O’Rourke wins prized £350m superlab contract
Report and commentary on the STC hearing of 2nd March 2011
The failed bidders notified that the bidding process was a sham
Gordon Brown’s involvement in the sale of the land to UKCRMI
Report and commentary on the STC hearing of 16 February 2011
Report and commentary on the STC hearing of 9 February 2011
Choosing the short list of bidders
The full list of bidders
Science and Technology Committee – Next UKCRMI evidence
Science and Technology Committee 9 February 2011
No 10 ‘interfered to push through £600m plan for virus superlab’
Notification of planning irregularities to Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson gives the go-ahead to UKCMRI laboratory
My submission to the Science and Technology Committee has been accepted
Camden’s response to my notification of planning permission irregularities
A list of the bidders for the Brill Place site
Letter submitted to the Camden New Journal 2 January 2011
Correspondence with Councillors about the vote
How councillors voted on the UKCMRI planning application
Councillors asked directly about who voted and how
The Evening Standard on security
Which councillors voted which way?
Challenge to the granting of planning permision
Objection to UKCMRI planning application for a research centre in Brill Place London NW1
Objection to planning application supporting documents

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The new leader of the Greens knows how to keep mum

September 9, 2012
2 Comments

Robert Henderson

Natalie Bennett  has been elected leader of the Green party in England and Wales (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-19462474). I know  Miss Bennett through my participation in a campaign to prevent the building of the Francis Crick  Institute (FCI),  a gigantic research laboratory. The primary objections to the Institute (formerly the UK CENTRE FOR MEDICAL RESEARCH AND INNOVATION or UKCRMI) arose from the fact that research would be done on dangerous  diseases at  an  unreservedly inappropriate site – the FCI is being built  just behind the British Library and next door to the  new Eurostar  terminal at St Pancras.  Those wishing to discover more should go to my blog  http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/objection-to-ukcmri-planning-application-for-a-research-centre-in-brill-place-london-nw1/.

Miss Bennett took a leading part in that campaign which lasted several years and ended in very predictable failure.  That was because the project had the wholehearted  support of both the Labour Government and the Tory Opposition. Normal campaigning on such  grounds as  danger and its contradiction of Camden Council’s public planning policy  was irrelevant, because  the supposedly impartial decision on who should be allowed to purchase the site  had  been taken before the bidding process  even closed. (There were several other serious bidders with alternative uses such as housing and commercial development). The decision was meant to be taken by the Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)  on the grounds of value for money. No one outside DCMS was meant to be involved.  The other bidders were spending their money (and these types of bids are very expensive) with no hope of success.

The one serious chance to stop the building of the Institute was to expose the illegitimate nature of the decision on who should purchase the site. This I did  using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  The information gained by this means revealed that Gordon Brown when Prime Minister had intervened to ensure that the consortium backing the FCI  bid got the land.  The documents showing Brown’s interference are at the bottom of this post.   They should be read in the context of powerful men getting their will done through expressing their desires rather than issuing direct orders. However, many of the documents are directly explicit about the involvement.

At the time of the campaign Miss Bennett was  editor of  The Guardian Weekly, a post she occupied  from December 2007 until March 2012.  She was in a  position to get the story of Gordon Brown’s illicit involvement in the bidding process into the mainstream media . I supplied her  with copies of  the documents showing Brown’s interference. Miss Bennett refused to use them, something more than a little surprising because  not only was she campaigning against the building of the FCI on the site,  the interference  was a category A political story and ostensibly one right up the Guardian’s street because it dealt with government  misbehaviour behind closed doors.   Miss Bennett  also failed to use the information when she was called before the Commons Science and Technology committee to give evidence.

I will leave it to the reader to speculate about  Miss Bennett’s motives for not using the information , but  here are a few objective facts relevant to the question:

1.  Despite being a  mainstream journalist, she refused to use information which  could have stopped the building of the FCI  and which was, regardless of her  involvement in the campaign against the FCI, the basis for a heavyweight  political story.

2. Miss Bennett’s politics are hard core politically correct. Here are a few  gems from her personal website http://nataliebennett.co.uk/ to give you an idea of her mentality and politics:

Home page: Natalie Bennett, Journalist, Writer, Green, Feminist

Resurrecting Our Foremothers:

The Prime Minister Miss Bennett refused to expose was someone very much to her political taste, namely, someone who headed a Government reeking with political correctness.

The honesty of her behaviour and words as leader of the Greens should be weighed in the context of her behaviour over the Francis Crick Institute campaign.

The honesty of her behaviour and words as leader of the Greens should be weighed in the context of her behaviour over the Francis Crick Institute campaign.

————————————————————————————————-

Gordon Brown’s involvement in the sale of the land to UKCRMI | February 21, 2011

To make  the matter as simple as possible to follow,  I have selected from the  documents in my possession which show Gordon Brown’s illegitimate involvement in the sale of  the land to UKCRMI six which form a paper trail from the period before the closing date for expressions of interest  to the announcement of the sale of the land by Gordon Brown.  Some of the  documents are lengthy. To prevent readers having to plough through them   I have highlighted  (by bolding) the passages in the documents which refer directly or indirectly to Brown’s interest.  Where a figure such as  [40] appears, that means redaction has occurred under the exemptions in the FOIA –  the number relates to the clause number of the exemption.  These documents  also give a good sketch of the background to the bidding process.

NB This document shows that  Brown was interfering even before the closing date for expressions of interest was closed.  The relevant date is not that on Rosemary Banner’s letter, but the enclosure which came with the letter, i.e., 1 August 2007. 

HM TREASURY

I Horse Guards Road London SWIA 2HQ

Rosemary Banner

Head of Information Rights Unit

Tel: 020 7270 5723

Fax:

rosemary.banner@hm-treasury.x.gsi.gov.uk

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk

Mr R Henderson

24 June 2009

Dear Mr Henderson

Freedom of Information Act 2000: medical research centre   We wrote to you on 27 August 2008 conveying the conclusions of the internal review carried out in relation to your complaint to the Treasury about the handling of your April 2008 request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

In light of your complaint to the Information Commissioner we have reconsidered the single item of information that falls within the scope of your request that has not already been disclosed. As a result of this re-examination we have identified additional information that we are now able to provide to you. Please see attachment at the end of this letter. For the avoidance of doubt we should make it clear that the Treasury continues to regard its original decision not to release this information as correct at the request and review stage. However, given the passage of time, we believe that the public interest in withholding has diminished and can now be released.

We have, however, decided to continue to withhold two sentences from this information under section 35(1 )(a) of the Act. These sentences continue to relate to ongoing policy. We have explained our position to the ICO regarding this, and are able to clarify that the redacted sentences contain information on a bid for funding from the MRC that the Department for Business Innovation and Skills are assessing in the normal way. Funding decisions have not concluded. As always the Government will publish actual funding provisions once a decision has been reached. Due to the way funding bids are negotiated and assessed this was been a live issue at the time of the request; internal review; and remains so at this present time. To be helpful we refer to evidence published by the select committee in December 2007. You will see that at that time the bid was £118 million.

http://www. parliament.the-stationery-office.com/pa/cm200708/cmselect/cmdius/1 85/1 85we02.htm

The Treasury is not able to comment as to what the final figure will be until a decision has been made, I reiterate that once decided it will be announced publicly.

Rosemary Banner

Head of Information Rights Unit

For HM Treasury

EXTRACT of relevant information extracted from a report prepared

1 August 2007

NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL RESEARCH (NIMR)   MRC concluded some years ago that the NIMR’s future location should be close to a London Teaching Hospital. With this in mind, MRC purchased at their risk for £28M in March 2006, but with Treasury’s knowledge, a one-acre site at the National Temperance Hospital location (NTH) in London.

MRC has recently learnt that its earlier preferred site for NIMR, a three-acre site adjacent to the British Library, has now become available. This larger site would have the major advantage of accommodating more translational research. Encouragingly MRC has most recently proposed that the site would be developed in partnership with Cancer Research UK (CRUK), Wellcome Trust and UCL as a potentially strong consortium. The Wellcome Trust have mentioned that they would be prepared to make a sizeable investment to help establish a new world class medical research facility in North London if they can secure DCMS-owned land and planning permission from Camden Council. At present the consortia has registered its interest in buying the site.

This project has had a very long gestation period, during which the arguments for the strong scientific case for relocating within London (which has a cluster of medical research and teaching hospitals) and the need to retain MRC’s highly skilled staff.

The recent preparation of a suitable business case has been further complicated of late by both the re-emergence of the British Library site as a possible location.

The PM is also most recently stated that he is very keen to make sure that Government departments are properly coordinated on this project and that if there is a consensus that this is indeed an exciting project then we do what we can to make it happen. This is extremely helpful from a DIUS and MRC perspective, but, formally a NIMR relocation project in London has yet to receive Lyons approval from Treasury (for either the first planned NTH site or the possible BL site).

MRC have employed Deloitte to prepare a full business case for the relocation project.

The scientific and operational case for a London location is strong in our view.

Key Dates for the Preparation and Appraisal of the NIMR Proposal

- July 2007 — Letter to Treasury to inform CST of MRC’s proposed bid for the BL site.

-July/August 2007 — Expression of interest in the BL site registered by  the MRC Consortium.

-September 2007 — further substantive discussions with MRC/Deloitte  on Lyons and emerging business case material.

-September 2007 — MRC NIMR project included by RCUK in the 2007 Roadmap consultation.

-October 2007 — first full draft business case prepared by MRC/Deloitte.

-October 2007 — MRC consortium formally bid to DCMS for the BL site.

-November 2007 — Full revised business case received and Lyons case consideration undertaken by Treasury.

-December — Progress submission to Ministers.

-December 2007 — MRC Consortium formed and, if successful in bidding, payment to DCMS for the BL site.

-December 2007 — MRC’s NIMR project prioritised by Research Council Directors for receipt of DIUS funding through the Large Facility Capital Fund.

-February/March 2008 — Submission to Ministers for approval of LFCF allocation to support the MRC’s NIMR project, subject to our final assessment of (a) the outcome of the Lyons case (b) the full business case and (C) prioritisation by RCUK of the use of the available LFCF,

April/May 2008 — DIUS Ministerial announcement of NIMR relocation project approval (subject to all the above).

Further Background to the National Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) The NIMR is one of the MRC’s largest and oldest research institutes. The NIMR is recognised as once of the UK’s foremost basic research institutes with a strong scientific track record and reputation. NIMR currently  houses the World Influenza Centre (WIC), which was established by  World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1948. The Centre, works with a  network of collaborating laboratories to detect and characterise the emergence of new influenza virus anywhere in the world including avian virus H5N1. NIMR is also at the forefront of international research to discover how molecular changes in the virus affect its ability to infect people and cause disease.

The NIMR has been at its present site since 1950. If it were to remain there the buildings would need substantial refurbishment. It is currently a ‘stand-alone’ Institute not physically linked to any University, Medical School or Hospital. In 2003 the MRC set up an expert Task Force to examine the strategic positioning of the NIMR research within the MRC portfolio. The Task Force concluded that their vision for NIMR would be best delivered through an intramural — i.e. with the staff employed by MRC — research institute on a single site in central London in partnership with a leading university and hospital (they received proposals from King’s College and University College) and this would enhance: – The multidisciplinary nature of NIMR’s work, providing access to other biologists, physical scientists, engineers, and mathematicians – Opportunities to collaborate more closely with clinicians and strengthen the focus of translational research.

Remaining at Mill Hill was considered by the Task Force where the majority view was that this would not be a viable option as it would not deliver Council’s vision for a world class research institute carrying out basic, clinical and translational research in partnership with a leading university and hospital. The position was endorsed by the MRC Council. This disappointed some staff at NIMR and there has been much lobbying of Ministers and MPs and as a result the issue has received some media interest.

MRC Council selected UCL as its preferred partner for the renewal and relocation of NIMR in Central London, in close proximity to a major teaching hospital (University College Hospital) and relevant university departments, including chemistry and physics.

The MRC Council approved an outline Business Plan for the renewal and relocation of NIMR in July 2005. The Business Plan confirmed the feasibility of developing the renewed Institute on the National Temperance Hospital (NTH) site in Hampstead Road, which MRC bought (at its own risk but with Treasury’s knowledge), for £28M in 2006, suggesting that the new site could provide accommodation for up to 1,058 staff, including 248 from UCL and potentially 40 additional research staff.

MRC have recognised that their development of the business case needed to ensure a successful project and to satisfy the requirements of DIUS and Treasury requires additional skills to those residing within the MRC and most recently further advice has been procured by MRC from Deloitte for assistance with preparation of the business case.

It was also not our intention at review stage to withhold names of senior civil servants of the email provided at initial request. While we explained that the sender was Jeremy Heywood from the Cabinet Office we overlooked to state the other officials who were recipients of that email. They were: The Permanent Secretaries of DIUS and DCMS Ian Watmore and Jonathan Stephens; the Managing Director of Public Spending in HMT, John Kingman; and the Chief Operating Officer, DCMS Nicholas Holgate.

————————————————————————————

NB This document shows Brown’s  interest just before the short list of bidders was decided. 

RESTRICTED – POLICY & COMMERCIAL

To James Purnell Margaret Hodge, Jonathan Stephens,Ros Brayfield

From Nicholas Holgate

Date 18 September 2007 ____________

SALE OF LAND TO THE NORTH OF THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Issue: mainly for information but also to ask how you would wish to be involved in this transaction.

The Department owns 3.6 acres to the north of the British Library. With the completion of the new train terminal, we are able to sell it and have been conducting a competitive process so that Ministers can choose what represents best value, comprising not just the proceeds from sale but also the use to which the bidder intends to put the land.

2. We are bound to be concerned about proceeds:

a. There is an obvious obligation, on Jonathan as the department’s Accounting Officer, to secure the best return we can for the taxpayer;

b. the Government is close to breaching its fiscal rules and has set itself a demanding target for asset disposals. Your predecessor strongly rebutted the Treasury’s proposal that we should sell assets worth £150m by 2010-11 and it has not formally been debated since your arrival; but we are likely to have to raise some funds from disposals. In any case:

c. proceeds from this sale are earmarked to contribute towards the budget of the Olympic Delivery Authority for 2007-08.

3. Subject to Treasury agreement, we can nevertheless also take public value” into account. We are aware of two such bids one led by the Medical Research Council, with support from the Wellcome Foundation and others for a research facility; and one that wishes to remain confidential but which is essentially related to faith and education.

4. The facts are:

a. We have now received 28 bids in response to a prospectus. Amongst other things, the prospectus drew attention to the local planning policy guidance, which steers bidders towards a scheme that is roughly 50:50 commercial and residential development with 50% affordable housing. It is Camden Borough Council and the Mayor who will have the last word on what is in fact built on the site;

b. Our professional advisers have scored the bids on various criteria and are interviewing the top seven plus two others (the medical research bid is one of the two others) next week;

c. There is a significant financial gap between the top bids and the medical research bid.

5. Jonathan and I are meeting Jeremy Heywood (who is aware of both public value bids), Ian Watmore (Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills) and John Kingman (Treasury) tomorrow. We need to agree an orderly and appropriate process for selling the land, given the public value bidders, other Departments’ interest and the likelihood that the Prime Minister might wish to take an interest too.

6. We will report back to you then. Subject to your views and others’, one potential way forward is a. DIUS economists be invited to assess the public value of the medical research bid. We will need some such calculation if we sell at a discount. DCMS should not do this as we should display some neutrality between bidders . We decide whether we expect the medical research bid to match the best bid, improve their offer but not necessarily to match, or take a lower value on the chin. Given their backers, they can afford to match. But they may refuse to play; and/or we may not wish to be seen to be reducing their funding for good causes just to maximise proceeds;

c. We see whether there is a Government champion for the other bidder;

and

d. We then fairly characterise the two public value bidders and the best commercial bid (or bids, if they differ significantly in what they propose) to Ministers and No 10 for a decision.

Nicholas Holgate

Chief Operating Officer

————————————————————————————

NB This shows Brown’s interest a few weeks before the sale to UKCRMI was agreed.

BRIEFING NOTE FROM POLICY ADVISERS DATED 12 NOVEMBER 2007 TO THE PRIME MINISTER COPIED TO No 10 OFFICIALS.

THE NOTE WAS ENTITLED: PROJECT BLISS – CREATING A WORLD-LEADING MEDICAL RESEARCH FACILITY IN LONDON

Disclosable extracts:

We are close to being ready to announce Government support for the creation of a world-leading medical research facility in London.

The key component being finalised is the sale of land, which will allow the BLISS partner organisations (the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and University College London) to develop their detailed proposals for the creation of the centre.

We anticipate that the deal will be finalised over the next few days and we should be able to announce the outcome of the process In the next few weeks. On current plans, we would expect the sale to complete during December and preparations for development to begin straight away. The expectation is that the Institute would be up and running by 2012.

This is an important opportunity to demonstrate what the UK’s commitment to medical research really means in practice. And it fits very well with the focus of your intended health speech.

What would you be announcing?

• We would be committing Government support to the creation of a new centre for UK biomedical research, with 1,500+ scientists, at a level commensurate with the very best institutions in the world.

• The BLISS consortium brings together four of the leading medical research institutions in the UK – the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and University College London.

• The Centre responds to the vision, outlined in Sir David Cooksey’s review of UK health research presented to Treasury in 2006, of better integration and translation of research into patient and public benefit. The Centre will benefit from economies of scale, enhanced infrastructure, the critical mass to optimise collaboration, and the capacity to take scientific discoveries from the lab bench to the hospital bed.

• These four key partners, together with the expectation that other organisations would come forward to invest In the centre or to lease research space, bring a powerful combination of skills and capabilities — basic research, applied research, the capabilities to convert research and innovation for public and commercial use, and the skills and opportunities presented by access to a leading university and teaching hospital. The potential, In terms of understanding disease, and developing new drugs, treatments and cures, is huge.

How to announce?

The suggestion is that you announce this a few days before your health speech, planned for 6th December. We would suggest a visit to a high-tech medical site in the morning to get pictures, followed by a meeting at No lO with all relevant stakeholders (primarily the four partner organisations) at which you make the formal announcement and ‘launch’ the project. Let us know your thoughts on whether this is the right way to proceed with the BLISS announcement?

Background

The vision for the BLISS Centre has six themes:

Research innovation and excellence • Bring together outstanding scientists from two world-class research institutes (MRC NIMR and the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute), collaborating with UCL, to address fundamental questions of human health and disease. • Through Wellcome Trust funding, development of tools for integrative biology, with an emphasis on the development of advanced microscopy imaging and on the mathematicaland computational needs in this field.

• Increase scientific innovation through new links with the physical sciences, life sciences, mathematics, engineering and the social Sciences at UCLI

• Develop close links between the Centre and the outstanding hospitals nearby (Including the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases at Queens Square, Great Ormond Street, Moorfields and University College Hospital) and other major hospitals in London (including Hammersmith Hospital and the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre at Hammersmith, and the Maudsley Hospital and the Institute of Psychiatry)1 State-of-the-art research facilities

• Develop a multidisciplinary research complex operating in state-of-the-art facilities, with the size and diversity to be internationally competitive with the world’s top research institutes.

• Establish a new centre for development of advanced imaging technologies and analysis. A national focus for biomedical science

• Interact with other local centres of excellence to foster and facilitate collaboration between basic, translational and Clinical scientists1  Host national and international research meetings and conferences, facilitated by its proximity to national and International transport links and the conference facilities of the British Library. An effective interface with technology transfer and development

• Facilitate the effective development of therapeutic and diagnostic devices and drugs, by allowing the technology transfer arms of MRC and Cancer Research UK to work closely together.

• Drive innovation in developing tests and technologies through interaction between researchers and development laboratories.

Finding and developing the scientists of the future • Provide an attractive environment to secure and retain world-class scientists by providing an outstanding setting for research and collaboration. • Boost the recruitment and training of scientists and doctors of the future by providing an excellent environment for postgraduate and postdoctoral training, and for training outstanding clinical scientists committed to medical research.

Engaging with the public

• Educate the public on important issues in health and disease.

• Bring together and enhance partners’ public information and education programmes, with a particular focus on engaging younger people.

————————————————————————————

NB This document shows Brown’s involvement just prior to the sale of the land.

BRIEFING NOTE FROM NO 10 POLICY ADVISER TO THE PRIME MINISTER DATED 27 NOVEMBER 2007

COPIED TO NO 10 OFFICIALS

ENTITLED “MEETING WITH PAUL NURSE ON BLISS PROJECT”

You are meeting Paul Nurse who is likely to lead the BLISS institute, along, with Mark Walport, Director of The Wellcome Trust, and Harpal Kumar, Head of Cancer Research, two partners in BLISS

We are close to being ready to announce Government support for plans to create a world-leading medical research facility in London, led by the BLISS consortium made up of the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust and University College London.

We have now effectively finalised negotiations on the sale of the 35 acre site, adjacent to the British Library: a price has been agreed with DCMS, and the deal is complete subject to agreement on how much of the proceeds DCMS will retain. We are therefore ready for an announcement next week on the sale of the land – but will not be announcing full details of the project overall, as there remain various Issues to resolve, including reaching agreement on business plans and gaining planning permission. We would therefore announce the Government’s support for the vision of the new centre – rather than definitive support for the centre itself. The Project BLISS consortium brings together four leading medical research institutions in the UK and will create a new centre for UK biomedical  research, with 1,500+ scientists, at a level commensurate with the very best Institutions in the world.

The Centre responds to the vision, outlined in Sir David Cooksey’s review of UK health research presented to Treasury in 2006, of better integration and translation of research into patient and public benefit.

The Centre will benefit from economies of scale, enhanced infrastructure, the critical mass to optimise collaboration, and the capacity to take scientific discoveries from the lab bench to the hospital bed. The Centre will create a place for:

• collaboration, between leading scientists and clinicians, working on some of the most pressing medical problems of our time;

• excellence, maintaining the quality of the UK’s life sciences research base;

• application, making links between research, medical practice and the pharmaceutical industry;

• innovation, translating research innovation into new treatments;

• learning, bringing forward a new generation of scientific leaders;

  •discovery, showcasing the challenges and potential of life sciences to a new audience.

• Using the close proximity to the British Library, the Centre will develop a public engagement and education programme.

Sir Paul Nurse

Sir Paul Nurse is President of Rockerfeller University, formerly Joint Director General of Cancer Research UK and winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize for Medicine. His appointment has not yet been publicly announced,but he is set to lead the project as chair the Scientific Planning Committee.

Briefing note from Bliss

————————————————————————————

NB This document from just before the sale of the land shows  the extent of Brown’s involvement with the suggestion that he would arbitrate.  

Sent: 27 November 2007 13:09

To: HOLGATE NICHOLAS

Cc: _[40]_____________

Subject: RESTRICTED – Land to the North

Hi Nicholas,

Jonathan spoke to Jeremy Heywood this morning. Jeremy said he needed the bid to be agreed by next Wednesday – 5 Dec (or Thursday  latest) as PM wanted to get MRC in then (or possible public announcement.

Jonathan explained that there are two issues from our point of view: .No revised formal offer has been received by DCMS .HMT are not being helpful of recycling returns – without an improved offer from HMT JS said it would he v hard to justify.

JR said he thought the offer was sent to us yesterday – have checked but  nothing in JSs post or email – JH will chase. JH also said he would go   back to HMT to see what more they can do, but that ultimately PM may have to arbitrate.

Cheers

[40]

[40]

Private Secretary  to Jonathan Stephens

Department for (Culture, Media and Sport 2-4 Cockpur Street, London

SWlY 5Dl1 email: [40]@culture.gsi.gov.uk tel: 0207211 fax: 020 72116259

————————————————————————————

NB This document shows Brown’s state of mind immediately after the sale of the land was agreed.

Treasury document

From – name censored

Sent: 04 December 2007 19:49

To: name(s) censored.

CC: name(s) censored)

Thanks for everyone’s help and support in making the announcement tomorrow happen. The PM is truly delighted that departments have been able to work together to secure this huge opportunity for Britain

RESTRICTED – COMMERCIAL


MPs back £660million medical research superlab

June 7, 2011
3 Comments

Evening Standard

MPs back £660million medical research superlab

Mark Blunden

6 June 2011

A maximum security “superlab” has been given a clean bill of health by MPs despite financial concerns about its central London location. The planned £660 million Francis Crick Institute, behind the British Library in St Pancras, will be capable of containing flu viruses, malaria, tuberculosis, cancer cells and HIV. Following a parliamentary inquiry, the science and technology select committee released a report on the facility. It called it “impressive and clearly in the public interest” but expressed concerns about the location.

Campaigners fear the 15-storey site, which is close to hundreds of homes, could pose a risk if viruses escape. The centre denies this. The building, formerly the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation, will be secured to “biosafety level three-plus” and has pledged to become a “global centre of research excellence”. The committee said the case for the location near St Pancras station “was not overwhelming” and another area of the UK could have benefited.

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23956747-mps-back-pound-660million-medical-research-superlab.do

 

 


Posted in Parliament
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UKCRMI to become The Francis Crick Institute

June 7, 2011
3 Comments

Cancer Research UK

Cancer News

UKCMRI to be renamed The Francis Crick Institute

Thursday 26 May 2011

The UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI), a world-class biomedical research institute planned for central London, is to be re-named The Francis Crick Institute in honour of one of the nation’s greatest scientists.

Construction work on the institute will formally start in early July and the change of name will coincide with this milestone.

Professor Crick, who lived from 1916 to 2004, is best known for the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA in 1953, alongside James Watson and collaborator Maurice Wilkins.

The trio were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for their work on “the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material”.

His name will be adopted as the permanent name of the UKCMRI, reflecting the centre’s vision to create a world-leading facility for medical science and innovation in London’s St Pancras.

The institute will initially build on the skills and research institutes of the MRC National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and Cancer Research UK’s London Research Institute (LRI). University College London and the Wellcome Trust are founding partners and King’s College London and Imperial College London have signalled their intention to join the partnership.

As well as driving the development of treatments and methods for the prevention of cancer, the Francis Crick Institute will also have research programmes on circulatory conditions, infectious diseases, immune system disorders, and neurodegeneration and regeneration.

Read more at

http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/news/archive/cancernews/2011-05-26-UKCMRI-to-be-renamed-The-Francis-Crick-Institute-

 

 

 

 

 


Posted in Uncategorized

MPs back £660million medical research superlab

June 7, 2011
2 Comments

Evening Standard 

MPs back £660million medical research superlab

Mark Blunden

6 June 2011

A maximum security “superlab” has been given a clean bill of health by MPs despite financial concerns about its central London location.

The planned £660 million Francis Crick Institute, behind the British Library in St Pancras, will be capable of containing flu viruses, malaria, tuberculosis, cancer cells and HIV.

Following a parliamentary inquiry, the science and technology select committee released a report on the facility. It called it “impressive and clearly in the public interest” but expressed concerns about the location.

Campaigners fear the 15-storey site, which is close to hundreds of homes, could pose a risk if viruses escape. The centre denies this. The building, formerly the http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/related-110817-uk-centre-for-medical-research-and-innovation.do” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”>UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation, will be secured to “biosafety level three-plus” and has pledged to become a “global centre of research excellence”.

The committee said the case for the location near St Pancras station “was not overwhelming” and another area of the UK could have benefited.

 http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23956747-mps-back-pound-660million-medical-research-superlab.do

 


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New Scientist reports on the Science and Technology Committee’s reservations about UKCRMI’s location

May 31, 2011
3 Comments

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The project has been billed as the most exciting biomedical research initiative for a generation.

 Now plans to build the giant research centre in London have been given qualified backing by members of parliament.
The Science and Technology Committee publishes its report on the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation (UKCMRI) which commends the scientific vision for the centre but expresses reservations about  the project’s location.

The case for the centre’s central London site near St Pancras station was far from overwhelming and it could have been built elsewhere, says the committee.

The  advantages of a central location for up to 1500 staff come at a price: the cost of construction is higher at St Pancras than any viable alternative site; a site incapable of expansion; and the concentration of medical sciences in the south of England.

The “initial investment” for the project has risen to an estimated £645 million but do not include the full cost of fitting out the UKCMRI.

The operating costs are estimated to be around £100 million a year, though the evidence before the committee suggests that they could be significantly higher.

The Committee’s concerns were assuaged by evidence from the government that the taxpayer will not be liable to any further costs above the £200 million already committed, should the project overrun:

Read more at

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/thesword/2011/05/is-britains-big-biomedical-ins-1.html

———————————————————

Dear Mr Highfield,

I write in response to your “Is Britain’s big biomedical institute in the right place?”  There is an issue relating to the siting of UKCRMI of which you will be unaware: Gordon Brown when Prime Minister interfered with what was meant to be a bidding process so as to invalidate the process. He did this by actively promoting the sale of the land to UKCRMI even before the closing date for expressions of interest. The sale of the land was supposedly to be decided by the DCMS Secretary of State, yet Brown was instructing the various government  departments involved to facilitate the sale to UKCRMI. How do I know this? Through the use of the FOIA.

I have set up a blog http://www.ukcmri.wordpress.com/ which deals with Gordon Brown’s interference and the other objections to the site, especially the security of the institute and provides a good deal of background to the protests against the institute being placed on the site.

To allow you to get into the story quickly look at these blog posts first:

http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/gordon-brown%E2%80%99s-involvement-in-the-sale-of-the-land-to-ukcrmi/

http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/objection-to-ukcmri-planning-application-for-a-research-centre-in-brill-place-london-nw1/

You may cite or reproduce  any of the  material on the blog. Should you wish it, I will make available to you all the documents I have received using the FOIA, although the most important ones are on the blog. I should also be happy to write an article on the matter for you.

Yours sincerely,

 

Robert Henderson


Notification of the contamination of the bidding process to the lead contractor

March 4, 2011
2 Comments
This email went to the entire executive board of Laing O’Rourke. The emails used were info@laingorourke.com, ray.o’rourke@laingorourke.com, des.o’rourke@laingorourke.com, bernard.dempsey@laingorourke.com, anna.stewart@laingorourke.com, roger.robinson@laingorourke.com, andrew.wilson@laingorourke.com, paul.neely@laingorourke.com

None of the emails bounced so there is a good chance some at least of the mean board will read the email.  Robert Henderson

—————————————————–

4 March 2010

 To: Ray O’Rourke – Chairman and Chief Executive Laing O’Rourke

 CC Des O’Rourke – Deputy Chairman

      Bernard Dempsey – Deputy Chairman

     Anna Stewart – Group Director of Finance and Commerce

     Roger Robinson – Chief Executive Officer, Europe

     Andrew Wilson – Chief Executive Officer, Australia and South East Asia

     Paul Neely – Company Secretary

Dear Mr O’Rourke, 

I see that Laing O’Rourke has just signed the contract to build the UKCRMI laboratory on land behind the British Library.  There is a complication of which I suspect you are unaware: the bidding for the site was a sham. There is consequently the possibility of legal action from the failed bidders and other interested parties.

I have used the FOIA to demonstrate that Gordon Brown fixed the result of the bid for UKCRMI by his personal influence.  He had done so even before the period for expressions of interest was over. 

To make the matter as simple as possible, I shall not at this stage send you all the documents relating to Brown’s interference, merely those which form a paper trail from the period before the closing date for expressions of interest  to the announcement of the sale of the land by Gordon Brown.   I have highlighted  (by bolding) the passages in the documents which refer directly or indirectly to Brown’s interest.  Where a figure such [40] appears, that means redaction has occurred under one of the the exemptions in the FOIA, the number referring to a paragraph or clause in the Act.  These documents will also give you a good sketch of the background to the bidding process.

Further relevant documents can be found at http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/objection-to-ukcmri-planning-application-for-a-research-centre-in-brill-place-london-nw1/

I shall be happy to allow you full sight of the documents I have obtained under  the FOIA. 

You may wish to  reconsider the contract in the light of this information.

Yours sincerely,

Robert Henderson

See http://ukcmri.wordpress.com/2011/02/21/gordon-browns-involvement-in-the-sale-of-the-land-to-ukcrmi/ for the documents supplied with the above email


O’Rourke wins prized £350m superlab contract

March 4, 2011
2 Comments

O’Rourke wins prized £350m superlab contract

Aaron Morby | Wed 2nd March | 8:23

Laing O’Rourke has secured the biggest publicly-funded building job to be bid in London this year.

The project to build a new national nerve centre for biomedical research next to St Pancras International station is shrouded in secrecy. Firms have been reluctant to talk about bids because of strict confidentiality clauses.

But the Enquirer understands that Laing O’Rourke has just won the main contract for the superlab after pitting its wits against rival teams from Mace/McAlpine, Bovis, Bam and Skanska.

Laing O’Rourke secured the £40m concrete basement package of the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation several weeks ago.

Since then it has been on tenterhooks to find out whether its main bid to run the entire four-year long job was also succesful.

An insider told the Enquirer: “Everybody involved appears to have taken a vow of silence but Laing has won the entire job.

“It’s very strange that the client is keeping it under such tight wraps, particularly because it is publicly funded and advertised in the Offical Journal.”

Plans to build the 80,000 sq m centre for biomedical research were unveiled by then prime minister Gordon Brown in a fanfare of publicity as one of the world’s largest centres of biomedical research.

The UKCMRI is expected to attract the brightest and best scientific minds to the capital to work on cures for cancer, heart disease and degenerative conditions linked to ageing.


Research complex will be built behind British Library, next to the St Pancras International railway station

Main construction on the building designed by architects HOK with PLP Architecture is expected to start in a May and take about two years to complete.

A further two years will be spent fitting out the institute, installing equipment to run building services for advanced laboratories.

The building’s vaulted roof is arranged into two shells and will be fitted with solar panels.

A third of the building will be below ground to reduce its visible mass.


Around 1,500 scientists will work in the building trying to find cures for cancer

http://www.constructionenquirer.com/2011/03/02/orourke-set-for-prized-350m-superlab-contract/


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