University of Sydney announces biomedical precinct

The University of Sydney will develop a $478 million healthcare building utilising $73m in private donations, including from the Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation.

The University of Sydney last year banked $39 million from a Glebe office.

With seven science schools and expected to accommodate 1200 researchers, the Sydney Biomedical Accelerator (SBA) will contain 36,000 square metres around Western Avenue, within the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the college’s Camperdown campus.

The state government, Centenary Institute and Sydney Local Health District form part of the development partnership.

“The SBA will tackle some of our most complex health challenges, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases and position Sydney as a global leader in biomedical research,” a school statement said.

“Scientists at the Accelerator will conduct cutting edge research into the building blocks of life, regenerative medicine, drug discovery and medical device development and harness the latest in nanotechnology and gene and stem cell therapy to transform health outcomes in the state,” it added.

The announcement is the latest in a string for the higher education sector, coming three months since La Trobe University appointed Plenary to complete a $5 billion redevelopment at its Bundoora campus in Melbourne.

The University of Melbourne too, recently unveiled a $200m New Student Precinct, at its Parkville school while Monash University expanded its Clayton campus, purchasing a 3.63 hectare block from Toyota.

Last November, Peet teamed with the University of Campus for a Belconnen project.

Historic investment: University of Sydney

University of Sydney vice chancellor and president, Professor Mark Scott, said the SBA is part of a 10 year development strategy.

“This is a historic investment for any university,” he added of the Denton Corker Marshall and HDR designed project.

“The range of world class buildings and facilities that will make up the SBA will bring together the brightest scientific and clinical minds with entrepreneurs, industry and government,” according to the executive.

“It gives our renowned researchers and partners the infrastructure to take a major step forward in the global quest to find solutions to our biggest health challenges.

“Together, we have the potential to dramatically improve the future of health and medical care in this country (story continues below).

“Once the Accelerator is completed, the long-term relationship between our University and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital will be further strengthened by the physical sharing and linkage of facilities, accelerating the pathway between findings made at a patient’s bedside to the research bench and back again”.

News of the SBA comes nine months since we reported the University of Sydney offloaded a Glebe office for $39m, and Forest Lodge apartment complex ($7.05m) as part of a sell-down also including four terraces.

Booming sector

Professor Scott said the SBA “cements our long-standing partnership with the Sydney Local Health District and we are so thankful for the $143.3m commitment that the NSW government announced for this project back in June”.

Another $20m is coming from the Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation, which five years ago also committed $35m to the recently completed Susan Wakil Health Clinic, also in the pocket.

Of the scientists – about 100 will be from the industry.

“Importantly, work at the SBA and the University’s facilities at Westmead will be mapped together for shared access and collaboration,” Professor Scott said.

“Capabilities will be designed to seamlessly complement each other across the two sites such as the viral vectors created at Westmead which will be used for gene and cell therapies development at the SBA,” he added.

“The work will place Sydney at the forefront of global biomedical research, enabling it to attract international talent and fast track research commercialisation”.

Globally, the school said, the biomedical research and development sector is responsible for some US$235b of spending, forecast to grow at 4-5pc each of the next five years.

A biotechnology precinct is also taking shape in Melbourne’s inner north, along Elizabeth Street between the Queen Victoria Market and Haymarket Roundabout.

In Adelaide, meanwhile, biotechnology forms a component of the $1.9b Lot Fourteen development, replacing the former Royal Adelaide Hospital block, abutting the Royal Botanic Gardens.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of