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ICR welcomes appointment of Aviva and Socius for new life-sciences development at The London Cancer Hub

An artist's impression of The London Cancer Hub - sketched mix of buildings, trees, people walking or cycling or sitting on street furniture

The Institute of Cancer Research has welcomed the appointment of a new partnership to deliver a major redevelopment project at The London Cancer Hub in Sutton.

The London Borough of Sutton has formally confirmed the selection of insurer Aviva and developer Socius as partners to advance the development of the site, which aims to become the world’s leading district for cancer research and treatment. 

The landmark investment includes the long lease sale for development by Aviva and Socius of a five-hectare site adjacent to the ICR and our partner hospital, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.

Building the world's largest cancer life science district

The partnership will deliver one million square feet of research, treatment and innovation spaces alongside residential accommodation and amenities for local people and visitors. It will be one of London’s most significant regeneration projects and once completed will make Sutton, and the capital, home to the world’s largest cancer life science district.

The site on which the development will be made is already home to the ICR, The Royal Marsden, cancer care support provider Maggie’s, science-specialist secondary school Harris Academy Sutton and the Council’s Innovation Gateway, a pioneering science incubator that provides start-ups working in areas related to cancer with high-quality laboratory, office and collaboration space.

The London Cancer Hub is a major life-sciences redevelopment project in Sutton, south London.

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The new development will deliver major social and economic benefits for the UK, contributing around £1.2bn to the UK economy and a £12m increase in business rates. Some 13,000 jobs in health, science, education and construction will be created as part of the project, as well as space for start-up, growing and established businesses.

Aviva and Socius have commenced community and stakeholder engagement with a view to submitting a planning application in late 2024.

Professor Paul Workman, Harrap Professor of Cancer Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the ICR, said:

“We’re confident that new commercial space here at The London Cancer Hub will deliver great benefits – by encouraging innovative collaborations between academics, clinicians, and industry, by facilitating the kinds of breakthroughs that can only come from working across scientific and organisational boundaries, and by providing the new treatments for people with cancer that are so urgently needed.”

Putting Sutton on the map as a global centre of science excellence

Simon Francis, Director of Estates and Facilities at the ICR, said:

“It’s brilliant news that development at The London Cancer Hub is continuing at such a pace, and we look forward to working closely with Aviva and Socius, as well as the other London Cancer Hub partners.”

Councillor Ruth Dombey OBE, Leader of the London Borough of Sutton, said:

“This announcement shows the scale of our ambition and our determination to put Sutton on the map. The Council has secured highly credible partners and after much work it will position Sutton as a global centre of science excellence. The Hub will bring huge opportunities to Sutton, London and the rest of the UK through the creation of thousands of new jobs, education opportunities and space for new cancer research. It will attract investment and make Sutton a destination as home to an internationally-recognised centre for the treatment and cure of cancer, discovering new drugs and, most importantly, saving lives.

Dame Cally Palmer, Chief Executive of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We are privileged to have an exciting blend of scientific and clinical expertise at Sutton that consistently translates innovative ideas in drug discovery from the laboratory to the clinical setting for the benefit of cancer patients worldwide. The London Borough of Sutton’s vision for The London Cancer Hub and invitation to biotech industry to move into commercial space onsite will strengthen our flourishing research community and create new opportunities for us to collaborate on developing cancer treatments for the future.”

Charlotte Jones, Aviva’s Chief Financial Officer, said:

“Aviva is investing significantly in critical areas of the UK economy such as housing, green energy and healthcare. We are using our capital to generate long term income for our customers and help the UK to grow. The London Cancer Hub will provide world-class cancer research and bolster the UK’s ambition to be a leader in the Life Sciences sector.” 

Gillian Norton, Chairman, St George’s, Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals and Health Group, said:

“We look forward to contributing to the plans for the London Cancer Hub development, alongside the planned Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, and are committed to ensuring that the site becomes a vibrant, sustainable and innovative centre for health and life sciences.”


Paul Workman London Cancer Hub Enterprise Unit business and innovation office innovation gateway commercialisation industry collaboration sutton industry partnership socius aviva Simon Francis
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