AstraZeneca signals renewed confidence in the UK with expansion of Macclesfield facility

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Astrazeneca has doubled down on its investment in the UK as the British life sciences sector prepares to be the first beneficiary of the government's industrial strategy.

The UK's second-largest drugmaker is set to expand its £150m factory in Macclesfield, Cheshire. The factory, which employs 300 people, will gain greater capacity

The move is expected to be announced this week as the government launches the first part of its industrial strategy. The UK's £60bn life sciences sector will be the first area of focus as policies are suggested to boost investment and cut regulations.

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Astrazeneca's investment, which is thought to be worth tens of millions of pounds, marks a shift in attitudes to the UK after its chief executive Pascal Soriot said last month he was holding back on making any new investments due to Brexit uncertainty.

But Andy Evans, head of Astrazeneca's Macclesfield operations, told the Sunday Telegraph that the firm is now ready to invest.

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The investment is expected to be announced this week, at the same time as the government's industrial strategy is revived after several months of sitting on the sidelines in the wake of the General Election and beginning of Brexit negotiations.

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