Return to search

A pivotal life sciences investment for London’s Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf Group and AXA IM Alts' Kadans Science Partner will be investing £500m in Europe's largest commercial lab building.

Already a main financial district in the UK’s capital, Canary Wharf will soon be one of the leading hubs for life sciences, too.

Europe’s largest commercial life science and wet laboratory in Europe is expected to be developed in the East London district following the formation of a joint venture between developer Canary Wharf Group and Netherlands-based Kadans Science Partner, which was acquired in 2020 by AXA IM Alts.

PERE understands the joint venture has been agreed on a 50:50 basis, with the firms investing £500 million ($657 million; €592 million). The investment is initially expected to be made with equity, but debt is also expected to be arranged at later stages of the development.

The development is expected to comprise 750,000 square feet across 22 stories. Surrounding the core laboratory space will be a campus housing businesses, including global healthcare and pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions in over 4,000 apartments. The development, due to be delivered in 2026, has been designed by New York-based architect KPF.

Future aspirations

The North Quay site, where the development will be situated, has long been considered a location for regeneration. The eight-acre plot was formerly used as a construction staging area for the Canary Wharf Crossrail Station as part of the long-awaited Elizabeth Line, which this development will sit next to.

The development will be in the heart of Canary Wharf, north of the Isle of Dogs. The UK’s largest inland fish market, Billingsgate, will be to its east. With London City Airport also close by, the aim is for the development to become a critical international hub for life science companies.

This aspiration fits with the UK government’s 10-year Life Sciences Vision, introduced in July 2021. The vision includes plans for the UK to become a leading center for the development of innovation in the life sciences industry.

Shobi Khan, chief executive of the Canary Wharf Group, says the firm’s own vision predates the state initiative. “Canary Wharf Group has been developing a vision for health and life sciences since 2019,” he says. “We are creating a world-class building that will provide state of the art laboratory, office and innovation space for some of the most exciting and fast-growing businesses in the health and life sciences sector.”

So, when the walls can talk at Kadan and CWG’s life sciences hub, they will likely extol the contribution they are making to a growing sector and to a city keen to demonstrate its credentials in accommodating it.

2009

Site used as a construction staging area for Canary Wharf’s Crossrail Station

Jul 2021

The UK government announces its 10-year Life Sciences Vision, setting plans for the UK to become a leading center for the life sciences industry

Mar 2022

Canary Wharf Group and Kadans Science Partner form JV to develop Europe’s largest commercial lab building in Canary Wharf

2026

The development is set to complete