A new spin-out firm from Liverpool-based Redx Pharma has been launched at AstraZeneca’s down-sized R&D site in Alderley Park.

Redx Anti-Infectives will launch this week at the Cheshire site, which will be located at the AstraZeneca ‘BioHub’ facility. AstraZeneca announced in March that it was moving research away from Alderley Park to Cambridge, complementing its presence in the area with its biologics arm MedImmune situated just outside the city.

But this move has meant that more than 1,000 jobs are going south and a further 600 five miles down the road to Macclesfield with 700 jobs to be axed – this was bad news for the Chancellor George Osborne, as Alderley Park falls within his constituency. Given this political edge a task-force - led by science minister David Willetts - was charged with finding alternative uses for the site, mimicking efforts to find new uses for Pfizer’s former site at Sandwich in Kent in 2011.

And it seems this programme has heralded results, as the Liverpool-based drug discovery and development firm’s new venture, ‘Redx Anti-Infectives’, will create 119 science jobs at the site, establishing a new team to develop drugs combating resistance to antibiotics and new medicines to tackle viral infections. 

The firm will be joining BioCity Nottingham, Blueberry Therapeutics and Imagen Biotech as new tenants to the site, which is being dubbed a 'BioHub'. Around 700 non-R&D staffers from AZ will also remain on the site. 

A particular focus will be hard to treat infections - these include the growing threat of drug resistant ‘super’ bugs like MRSA, as well as conditions such as influenza, Hepatitis C and HIV. A further 28 specialist jobs are expected to be created within the wider supply chain.

Redx Anti-Infectives began operations at the end of April 2013, supported by a grant of £4.7 million from the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund, which also helped stimulate further private funding.

Dr Neil Murray, chief executive of Redx Pharma, said: “The World Health Organization has identified drug resistance, particularly in the area of antibiotics, as one of the most pressing human health concerns globally. The fresh thinking and original approach of Redx Anti-Infectives will help create effective solutions to these critical problems. 

“Whilst our headquarters remain in Liverpool and we have ambitious plans to grow our business and create high value science posts in the city, at the same time we recognise that the facilities at Alderley Park are world class and enable us to move quickly in expanding this key new part of our business. 

“We will be working closely with our colleagues at AstraZeneca, who made a compelling commercial case to attract us to Alderley Park. We look forward to a long and fruitful collaboration.”

Clive Morris, AstraZeneca VP of Research & Development, said: “We are delighted to welcome Redx to Alderley Park, which is an important first step in our ambition to secure a sustainable future for the site. We will continue to seek further opportunities to attract other innovation-driven companies and, wherever possible, build on the existing bioscience expertise and world class facilities available at Alderley Park.”

Redx Anti-Infectives is the third business which has been created by the Redx Pharma group, which was founded in 2010. It follows Redx Oncology, which is also based in Liverpool, and Redx Crop Protection, which operates from Frome, Somerset.