Nucleic Acid Therapies in Oxfordshire

Demand for transformational healthcare solutions is soaring. Companies looking to test and deliver new treatments can collaborate with Harwell Campus, the UK’s largest science and innovation campus.

Nucleic acid therapeutics is experiencing high growth and specific demand exists for innovative companies to pioneer targeted medicine discoveries and manufacture pharmaceutical ingredients.

Harwell’s leading hub for nucleic acid therapeutics, vaccines and drug delivery can support companies to advance next generation medicines.


Investment type:

Foreign direct investment


Healthcare and life sciences

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Sector and market opportunity

The global market for nucleic acid therapeutics is projected to reach £10 billion by 2031 and companies can capitalise on this growing market opportunity at Harwell.

With £3.5 billion of UK government investment in national research institutes, the cluster is making breakthrough discoveries. It is helping to troubleshoot challenging problems facing the bioindustry associated with drug discovery, delivery and manufacturing.

Harwell’s compelling ecosystem of research facilities, academia and industry helps de-risk businesses’ research and development (R&D) ventures.

Growth prospects

Harwell’s rapidly growing HealthTech cluster boasts 80 organisations, supply chain partners and venture capital investors. This provides small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with mechanisms to de-risk projects and access finance, laboratories, unique equipment, and expertise.

The campus is home to 5 incubator and accelerator facilities, over 60,000 square metres of commercial spaces. It has an additional 60,000 square metre development for new laboratories, science manufacturing space and a 12,000 square metre accelerator facility. This will enable company growth, from micro-scale R&D through to large-scale manufacturing.

Key stakeholders include the Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator and Rosalind Franklin Institute. Stakeholders can support companies to develop and validate their programmes, adding value through consultancy and collaborative projects.


Located in Oxfordshire at the heart of the UK’s “Golden Triangle”, Harwell Campus is ideally placed in the largest life sciences cluster in Europe. It provides access to talent, a strong supply chain, clinical expertise, and industry support.

HealthTech companies are co-located alongside 3 other clusters (Energy, Space and Quantum). This enables cross-sector knowledge exchange and unique opportunities for collaboration involving AI, Net Zero sustainability, imaging and material science. Harwell also has on-site business support mechanisms, grant funding, extensive networking and events.


London Heathrow Airport, the world’s most connected airport with flights to over 80 countries, is a 50-minute drive from Harwell.

Harwell is connected via the UK’s motorway network, M40 and A34, with good drive times to London, the Midlands and the South Coast. Direct bus links reach Oxford City within 35-minute drive.

Harwell’s nearest rail station, Didcot, is approximately 40 minutes, via Reading, to London Paddington.

East West Rail will connect Oxford and Cambridge together by rail by the late 2020s.

Local talent and skills

The “Golden Triangle” region is home to over 3,700 life sciences companies and over 193,000 employees.

Employers will find a depth of skills in the cluster including Seqirus, Becton Dickinson, Lonza, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim and Sanofi. Up to 30 universities have a presence on campus at any time and Harwell hosts over 10,000 visiting researchers each year.

Alongside two world-renowned universities in Oxford, the University Technical College and the MRC Advanced Training Centre at Harwell specialise in training and life sciences skills.

Region Spotlight
South of England


The region is home to 21 million people. It offers opportunities across a wide range of sectors from nuclear and aerospace, to life science and new technologies. There are vibrant clusters of expertise spanning 5G, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

View all investment opportunities in South of England

Research and expertise

The cluster is built around £3.5 billion of open-access national research institutes, such as the Diamond Light Source (UK’s synchrotron), Rosalind Franklin Institute, MRC Mary Lyon Centre, National Quantum Computing Centre, STFC Central Laser Facility, and Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator.

These institutes provide everything from structural biology, next-generation chemistry and imaging capabilities, through to CRISPR-generated mouse models and AI/ML/quantum-enabled analytics support.

Companies can integrate into a collaborative, world-leading ecosystem of industry and academic expertise to advance next-generation xRNA and related technologies and therapies.

Success stories


The biotechnology company pioneering mRNA therapeutics and vaccines has selected Harwell for its Moderna Innovation and Technology Centre. This is because of the ability to meet all its site and talent requirements, the strength of the health tech community and established transport links.

The vaccines manufacturing facility, a clinical biomarker laboratory and biobank, is part of a £1.5 billion investment over 10 years.


Oxford University’s start-up Vaccitech, now NASAQ listed, is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company responsible for the technology behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

Having joined the campus in 2021, the company is rapidly scaling their Harwell activities to deliver several clinical programmes for HBV, HPV and cancer. They are also expanding to the US through their Avidea Technologies acquisition.

Agilent Technologies

Headquartered in California, Agilent is a leader in life sciences, diagnostics and applied chemical markets.

In 2017 Agilent acquired Harwell’s spinout Cobalt Light Systems, to expand into the fast-growing Raman spectroscopy market. They later opened a state-of-the-art facility for spectroscopy research and development at Harwell in 2019.

Take advantage of this opportunity to expand your business in the UK

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