THE anchor tenant in a project to turn Liverpool into a global centre for life science research has reaffirmed its commitment to the scheme – but warned it cannot wait forever.
Last month The Post revealed how the planned Liverpool BioInnovation Centre (LBIC) had missed out on funding in the third round of the government's regional growth fund (RGF).
The scheme's commissioners at the Royal Liverpool Hospital insist the scheme is still on track, with half the funding already secured from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
But they have just months to raise the remainder if they are to meet a deadline to start building in spring next year in order to enable a 2014 opening date.
The price of the five-storey building has also been revised down from £28m to £22m, largely a reflection that VAT will be recoverable on the scheme.
The expanding and highly successful Liverpool-based pharmaceuticals start-up Redx Pharma will be the centre's anchor tenant.
Dr Neil Murray, chief executive of Redx, told The Post: "Our position is fundamentally unchanged. We strongly support LBIC and stand ready to occupy the facilities. The most recent date we have been given for occupation is in the middle of 2014.
"We have been told it is still going ahead in that timeline and look forward to being part of it."
LBIC is envisaged as the first stage of creating a bio campus on the edge of the city centre to attract up to 5,000 scientists to Liverpool
The site is just down the hill from the current Royal Liverpool Hospital at the junction of Prescot Road and Daulby Street. It secured planning permission in April.
It would create 70,000 sq ft of laboratory space – the equivalent of 23 tennis courts.
Redx is on a steep growth plan and needs to expand its facilities.
Dr Murray warned: "If LBIC does not go ahead will there come a point when we look at alternatives? Yes. But we are not there yet."
The company, which specialises in new compounds used in drugs, has seen rapid growth and consistently attracts new funding.