AstraZeneca has announced that it is planning to donate its Brixham, Devon-based environmental laboratory to Plymouth University.

The drug giant announced the closure of its lab, which provides specialist services to assess the impact of pharmaceuticals and chemicals used by a range of industries on the environment, back in October, in order to focus its efforts on the development of new medicines.

The donation of the facility and its equipment to Plymouth University "will ensure that the laboratory continues to serve scientific and research purposes, benefitting the Torbay region and beyond," the firm said.

The University is planning to use the site to establish a global research and education facility, and also plans to offer commercial innovation opportunities through the facility via the region’s Growth Acceleration and Investment Network (GAIN), AstraZeneca noted.

"We are determined to leverage our academic credentials and enterprise mission to further develop the site into an international centre of excellence for marine and environmental research," said Professor Wendy Purcell, Plymouth University Vice-Chancellor.

"Through this, we hope to support the creation of highly-skilled jobs that underpin sustainable growth in the region," she added.

Ownership of the lab - but not AstraZeneca staff or third party work commitments - should be transferred to the University by the end of April 2014.