Ladies and Gentlemen, it really is a great pleasure to be able to join you today as we celebrate the splendid example of world-leading science, creativity and innovation represented here.
Having myself studied at Cambridge, as the Secretary of State just reminded me, over fifty years ago now, one of the things which I have always found so special about this city is how it attracts the meeting of minds, sparks unique cross-disciplinary conversations and nurtures collaboration and ingenuity.
So it is perhaps easy to see why AstraZeneca, as a pioneering global organization, would choose to invest and make a home here to continue the world-class science you are already undertaking for the benefit of society and human health and to lay the foundations for the ground-breaking innovations of the future.
I must say it has been absolutely fascinating to see at least some of the work that takes place inside this centre and to think that – supported by interactions across the city and beyond – it will ultimately enhance and save the lives of untold millions of people around the world in the years and decades to come.
Throughout the pandemic, I have greatly admired the dedicated commitment of Pascal and the entire AstraZeneca team. You have developed and delivered a vaccine for the world – in a remarkably short time-scale – which will continue to have a positive impact on communities and society for years to come. You have demonstrated, together with your partners, the power of collaboration, of agility and, ultimately, of science itself. And, what is more, you have done it all on a not-for-profit basis.
If I may say so, I am also greatly heartened by the focus on sustainability which is clearly in this company’s D.N.A.. From the lab to the patient, you are embedding innovation in everything you do, in order to improve human, as well as planetary health. Your mission to deliver net zero healthcare via the latest technologies, renewable alternatives and a circular approach, is one from which many within and outside of your sector can learn.
I am enormously grateful to Pascal for leading the Healthcare Systems Transition Coalition of the Sustainable Markets Initiative, which I founded almost two years ago. Its ambition is to accelerate a sustainable future by mobilizing the power of, and investment by, the private sector. This “Coalition of the Willing” really does have the capability to exercise a truly transformative impact on the future of industry.
Ladies and Gentlemen, you don’t need me to tell you that the last two years have been some of the most difficult of a generation. But if we can quite literally turbo-charge the sustainable action so desperately needed, we can create a greener, healthier future – for people, Nature and our one and only planet.
So, Ladies and Gentlemen, I can only offer you all my warmest congratulations on everything that you have achieved so far, and wish you every possible success with your future work. Nothing – after so many months of postponement! – could therefore give me greater pleasure than to declare the new AstraZeneca Global Research and Development Centre open!