Global biotechnology leader CSL Limited today announced it has entered into an agreement with developer PDG to build world-class laboratories and offices to house the company’s global corporate headquarters in the heart of the Parkville biomedical precinct.
Located at 645 Elizabeth Street on the northern edge of Melbourne’s CBD, the 16-storey flagship building represents an important investment in the Australian biotech ecosystem.
The new facility will foster and support collaborations between academic biomedical research and industry, creating important linkages in the ‘benchtop to bedside’ translation of new medicines for unmet medical needs.
CSL’s CEO and Managing Director, Paul Perreault said, “Melbourne’s reputation as a world class centre of biomedical research excellence is well established. The medical research cluster centred around Parkville, comprising the University of Melbourne, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, the Doherty Institute for Infectious Disease, The Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, the Royal Melbourne Hospital, the Royal Women’s Hospital, The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Royal Children’s Hospital, among other institutions is considered a world-class medical precinct and a significant research presence in global terms.”
“CSL’s collaborations within the precinct span more than a hundred years. We have opportunities all around the world and R&D in several countries, but we believe the density and quality of medical research activity in Parkville has enormous future potential. As we continue to strengthen our long term collaborations with strategic partners we intend to grow these networks by further embedding key elements of our Australian operations into the nucleus of Melbourne’s medical research district,” said Mr Perreault.
On completion, the development will accommodate more than 800 CSL employees including early stage research and product development teams, commercial operations, corporate functions and support services. The building will include seven floors of office work spaces and nine floors of laboratories and research and clinical phase production suites. The company will maintain its presence at the Bio21 Institute which currently accommodates 130 CSL researchers, while Seqirus’ influenza and antivenom manufacturing operations will remain at the Poplar Road campus for the foreseeable future.
“Our Poplar Road site is an important part of CSL’s history and has served the company well. As we plan for future growth however, moving geographically closer to our key stakeholders ensures we are well placed to strengthen our partnerships and deepen the valuable relationships we have with the local biomedical community. The move will also bring key elements of our Australian operations together, fostering stronger internal collaboration,” said Mr Perreault.
Known as ‘Elizabeth North’, the site includes three tower buildings. CSL’s new Global Head Office is planned for completion as part of phase two of the three-stage project.
The landmark site will be developed by PDG and will employ nearly 1350 people in the construction of phases one and two. Commenting on the agreement, Vince Giuliano, Managing Director of PDG said, “This dynamic precinct will be a foundation for organisations that stand as global exemplars of their industries – driving the growth of knowledge, development of technology and success of Australia’s brightest minds.”
The buildings will be joined by external ‘laneways’ with activated street frontages, creating dynamic public spaces that reflect Melbourne’s architectural heritage, while providing increased opportunities for networking between professionals, researchers, students and visitors. The ‘laneways’ will also act as a thoroughfare link between the health and educational precinct and the Melbourne CBD.
The development will have high public transport connectivity and will be a short walk to the planned new Parkville metro train station.
CSL’s laboratories will be enclosed in floor-to-ceiling glass and circumnavigated by a continuous corridor, enabling safe, transparent viewing of biotech production activities for a range of precinct visitors, including educational opportunities for students and young researchers.
Planning has commenced with project completion scheduled for 2024.
The Victorian State Government and the University of Melbourne have also announced today an intention to commission a feasibility study to maximise the jobs and economic development potential of Parkville similar to powerhouse biotech and innovation precinct developments elsewhere in the world.