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HBG leads on major bio lab

HBG is tipped for a £140 million deal to build one of the UK’s largest laboratories.

The firm is thought to have edged ahead of Laing O’Rourke for the deal to replace the Laboratory for Molecular Biology next door to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge for the Medical Research Council.

The lab, designed by Scottish architect RMJM, will stretch over 30,000 sq m with four departments and 600 staff.

Subject to funding, work on the project is expected to start in the new year, with a three-year build period.

The scheme is part of a wider biomedical campus being developed on the 28 ha site. Countryside Properties has joined forces with fellow developer Liberty and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for the Cambridge Biochemical Campus.

The project will see 230,000 sq m of biomedical research facilities built as well as a learning centre, conference facility and hotel.

The Papworth Hospital, which in 1979 was the site of the UK’s first successful heart transplant, is also expected to relocate to the site under a Private Finance Initiative deal to be advertised in the new year.

A project source said that by taking this early deal, HBG would be well placed to bid for other parts of the campus.

He said: “While obviously each project would be awarded on the merits of the winning bidder, a little bit of local knowledge can help.

“If HBG can do a decent job on the MRC scheme that will be a great advertisement when they are competing for other bits of the campus.”

A spokeswoman for the Medical Research Council said it was currently in the cooling off period following the award of the contract as demanded by EU procurement law. She added the MRC could not comment on which firm had won.

HBG declined to comment.