The Times has reported that AstraZeneca’s new global headquarters in Cambridge has “more than doubled to £750 million, making it one of the most expensive corporate buildings in Britain.”

Astrazeneca’s latest annual report says that project costs now total significantly more than initially thought, owing to the complexity of the architecture, general inflation in construction costs and “increased investment in new technologies and equipment”.

Pascal Soriot, chief executive of AstraZeneca, has been actively involved in planning details of the new 580,000sq m site on a biomedical campus south of Cambridge. Earlier this year he said that the delays had been caused by awaiting validation for laboratories, saying “you can’t compare it to an office building. It’s a complex building. It’s going to be the best R&D building in the world.”

The initial cost of the building was estimated to be £330m, and the plan was to have the site begin to be occupied in 2016. However, the report also noted that “the complexity of the building project is reflected in the updated schedule, in which we are expected to start occupation of the building from 2020 rather than have it fully operational in that year”.

The building is said to have “screens on the outside of the labs to tell you what’s going on in there,” according to Dr Andy Williams, AstraZeneca’s VP, Cambridge strategy and operations.

He also explained to Cambridge Independent that “The idea is based on a college quad”, and that outdoor seating and evening events are on the cards too, with a 250-seat ground-floor staff restaurant that will also look out on to the courtyard.

He continued, “This will be the only place in the world where we have the large and the small molecule organisations side by side. Modern treatments can require both a biologic and an antibody approach.

“So it’s not just about collaborating externally but also internally.”