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The London Cancer Hub: the story so far


Henry French introduces the latest developments at The London Cancer Hub, a major regeneration project in Sutton, south London, which aims to develop the world’s leading cancer-specialist life-science campus.

Posted on 20 February, 2019 by Henry French

London Cancer Hub concept image

Image: London Cancer Hub concept image (Credit: Haptic Architects)

The London Cancer Hub is a life-science district in Sutton, south London. Hugely ambitious in scale and scope, it aims to become the world’s leading centre for cancer research, treatment, education and enterprise and once complete is projected to contribute around £1.2 billion per year to the UK economy.

The London Cancer Hub is also a major regeneration project, with the total cost of investment due to reach £1 billion.

Led jointly by the London Borough of Sutton and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, with the support of The Royal Marsden and the Mayor of London, the London Cancer Hub represents a UK-leading partnership between the university sector, local government, the private sector and the NHS to deliver local and national economic benefits, new infrastructure and large numbers of new jobs.

Vibrant community

Including a vibrant community of scientists, doctors and innovative companies over up to a million square feet of commercial research and development and life-science space, the hub will form one of four outstanding campuses being developed across London to stimulate collaboration between academia and industry – the others being Imperial College London’s White City Campus, Barts Life Sciences in Whitechapel and the Euston Corridor, site of the Francis Crick Institute.

It will also be an important component of the London-Oxford-Cambridge ‘golden triangle’ of life-science research.

The site on which The London Cancer Hub is based is already home to The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR). A member college of The University of London, it is often rated among the world’s best universities in measures of innovation and collaboration with industry, as well as ranking top in research quality and impact in the definitive measure of UK university research excellence.

With current collaborations with more than 200 life-science companies – from small, start-up biotech and medtech firms to big pharma – the ICR is the top UK academic institution for commercial collaboration, and its discoveries become the drugs and technologies used in global cancer treatment.

The London Cancer Hub will further strengthen the ICR’s collaborations with industry and create new opportunities for commercial partners to work directly alongside our scientists. The partners are currently working to bring future industry occupiers to the site, to fill the laboratories and incubator space included in the hub masterplan.

The London Borough of Sutton has now launched a tender to bring in a commercial development partner, which will create new buildings and supporting infrastructure. Ultimately, around 7,000 jobs will be created in life sciences and supporting activities, and 6,200 in the site’s construction.

Also co-located with The London Cancer Hub is The Royal Marsden, one of the world’s leading cancer hospitals and a supporting partner of The London Cancer Hub.

The close partnership between the ICR and The Royal Marsden affords unique opportunities for the translation of research discoveries into the clinic, in collaboration with industry, and together the organisations are rated in the top four centres for cancer research and treatment worldwide.


Against this background of excellence, The London Cancer Hub represents a further step up in ambition for what Sutton can achieve in life sciences on a global scale.

The London Cancer Hub has now begun to take shape, with the London Borough of Sutton making an investment of £30m in land on the site and the first cluster of new buildings now going up.

These include new drug discovery facilities at the ICR, a £40m specialist science school, Harris Academy Sutton, and Maggie’s Cancer Centre, a facility to enhance emotional support for patients at The Royal Marsden.

Alongside this investment on the site itself, the partners are working with Transport for London (TfL) to deliver a programme of renovation and redevelopment to local Sutton infrastructure.

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Transport links

The highest-profile enhancement to local infrastructure is the potential new tram: an investment of hundreds of millions of pounds to connect TfL’s services from southwest London to Sutton through SuttonLink. The plan forms a cornerstone of the Greater London Authority’s 25-year strategy to improve transport in London.

The London Cancer Hub partners are now working with local and national MPs and policy makers to bring the tram further into Sutton to the site of The London Cancer Hub – including through accessing innovative financial models to fund the extension – as well as working to improve provision of train services, buses and cycling and walking routes.

The London Cancer Hub has become one of the most significant regeneration projects in London and is already bringing together multiple public institutions and private partners.

The projected benefits are huge: in terms of economic benefit, job creation, national and local impact and ultimately in lives saved from one of the world’s most devastating diseases.


Find out more about The London Cancer Hub


London Cancer Hub Enterprise Unit industry
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