Planning consent secured for Europe’s largest and most technologically advanced life sciences building at Canary Wharf – 19.07.23

Joint Venture between Canary Wharf Group and Kadans Science Partner receives green light for plans to establish a unique 23-storey vertical campus at the heart of a new world class life sciences ecosystem

Canary Wharf Group (“CWG”) and Kadans Science Partner (“Kadans”) have secured planning approval from Tower Hamlets Council for the development of a state-of-the-art commercial health and life sciences building at the North Quay site, adjacent to the Crossrail Station and new Elizabeth Line at Canary Wharf, London.

The 23-storey 823,000 sq ft tower will set a new benchmark in the development of life sciences laboratories and workspace, creating a first of its kind vertical campus, which will be Europe’s largest and most technologically advanced life sciences facility. 

Enabling works on the 3.3-hectare site are already well underway and the building, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, is anticipated to complete in 2027 and will be a world-leading centre for health and life sciences.

A low-carbon strategy has been implemented across the development, which includes highly insulated and airtight building fabric, with an optimized façade, energy efficient MEP systems and the provision of renewable sources and highly efficient photo voltaic panels. 

Energy efficiency is at the forefront of the building’s design, adopting the industry leading NABERS (National Australian Built Environment Rating System) UK Design for Performance approach to optimising operational energy use. 

In comparison to conventional commercial buildings or lab enabled offices, the vertical campus provides enhanced fresh air, power, data and ceiling heights in comparison to a traditional commercial lab building.

This significant milestone for the North Quay development has been secured as CWG and Kadans have accelerated the growth of the existing health and life sciences community across Canary Wharf.  This includes the recent completion of a wet lab innovation and flexible workspace centre at 20 Water Street, delivering 40,000 sq ft of fully fitted, flexible, wet-labs geared towards early-stage life science companies to collaborate and innovate.  In addition to the Innovation Centre at 20 Water Street, the building’s office accommodation is attracting considerable interest from life sciences companies, with CWG expected to announce new leases imminently.

Elsewhere across Canary Wharf, a host of life sciences and healthcare organisations are already well established, including government-owned genomic health pioneer, Genomics England, Barts Health NHS Trust, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, Medical Defence Union, General Pharmaceutical Council and NHS Transformation.  Level39, Canary Wharf’s world-leading tech hub, has a vibrant community of 180 start-up and scaleup companies including an increasing number of life sciences focused businesses.

Shobi Khan, CEO of Canary Wharf Group, said: “This is a significant milestone in our development of a world-class life sciences hub at Canary Wharf.  While the North Quay development is an integral focal point, we have been working in tandem to nurture and grow our current life sciences community and we have built real momentum this year through leasing success and working with our partners Kadans to develop bespoke and innovative new facilities.  The next chapter in the evolution of Canary Wharf is well underway with the next generation of health and life science companies set to become a significant presence in our sustainable, mixed-use environment.”

Michel Leemhuis, CEO of Kadans Science Partner, added: “In addition to its scale, location and technology, this building sets a new benchmark in its field for sustainability, capitalizing on our previous experience and lessons learned, while engaging industry working groups to ensuring we are delivering a facility tailor-made to industry requirements.  With planning consent secured, we are looking forward to continuing the extraordinary progress we are making with the Canary Wharf Group.”

The development will benefit from Canary Wharf’s exceptional connectivity which was recently improved further with the opening of the Elizabeth Line.  Heathrow and London City Airport are accessible within 10-45 minutes, and it is also less than 30 minutes to King’s Cross, White City and three significant funders of life science research in the UK – UKRI, Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK. 


For further information, please contact:

Press Office
Canary Wharf Group plc
T: 020 7418 2166

Notes to Editors

About the North Quay development

The building has been designed to allow up to 60% of laboratories, with the ability to provide chemistry and high containment facilities. The building’s infrastructure employs an innovative stacking programme allowing for a distributed mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering (MEP) strategy, across the stacks. This enables the building to provide laboratory space on every floor.

The building signals a new model in life sciences development and a step change in the way ecosystems for knowledge-intensive businesses are designed and developed. 

To maximize flexibility across the building, it has been designed with highly efficient floor plates to accommodate a range of tenant sizes and sectors, with space allowing for businesses to expand and grow on the site.   

The community-focused design approach set to encourage collaboration and innovation by creating a stack of neighbourhoods with the ability to create interconnecting communal spaces that eliminates barriers. This stacking arrangement provides ultimate flexibility in tenant scale, arrangement, and expansion without losing the sense of being part of an exciting, collaborative environment. 

The building also provides community spaces on the ground and first floors with a café and break out areas for conferences and meet ups in order to enhance collaboration within the building’s life science community. By opening the ground floor to the public, the desire is to make life’s sciences more approachable and less closed off. At the top of the building there is sky lounge and terrace for the tenants with spectacular views across London.

The exterior is differentiated from the central Canary Wharf cluster, embracing the industrial heritage of North Quay, to create contemporary, cutting-edge architecture.  Laboratory volumes are clad in a grid of graphite aluminium and terracotta elements in a gradient of warm tones, that introduce a visual dynamism to the project. The colour gradient emphasises the position of the central, social spine of the building and becomes an immediately recognizable feature creating a unique identity. For environmental performance and thermal comfort, solar shading is incorporated that prevents overheating whilst allowing deep daylight penetration and views out.

The building also incorporates dedicated clinical and chemical waste facilities, multiple goods-lifts with oxygen monitors, freezer farms and specialised receiving and storage areas for hazardous, clinical and chemical goods. The building’s central service provision will include Nitrogen (gaseous & liquid), CO2 and compressed air.

A low-carbon strategy has been implemented across the development, which includes highly insulated and airtight building fabric, with an optimized façade, energy efficient MEP systems and the provision of renewable sources and highly efficient photo voltaic panels. 

The pioneering HVAC design utilising heat pumps and heat recovery systems allows the building to be one of the largest all-electric lab spaces in the world, in line with net zero ambitions. Embracing an all-electric heating and cooling strategy to minimize greenhouse gas emissions, the building is targeting BREEAM rating Excellent, with an aspiration for Outstanding for the laboratory and office areas. The building will have WELL-certification, targeting the highest platinum level to allow future occupants to certify their areas fully.

Contrasting with a typical low-rise campus laboratory, KPF has adopted an inside-out approach to design, combining best-in-class specification, striking architecture, and unique tenant amenities to create an unparalleled destination for life sciences.

About Canary Wharf Group:

Canary Wharf Group (CWG) is the developer of the largest urban regeneration project in Europe. CWG develops, manages and currently owns interests in approximately 9 million square feet of mixed-use space and over 1,100 Build to Rent apartments. 

CWG is a sustainable developer in the UK and also excels operationally as it has purchased 100% electricity from renewable sources since 2012 and sent zero waste to landfill since 2009. 

CWG has created a 24/7 city where people can live, work and thrive on the Canary Wharf estate and enjoy all the benefits: great transport links, access to 16.5 acres of green spaces and waterside living; and a wide range of amenities including an award-winning arts and events programme. Canary Wharf’s retail offering comprises over 70 bars, cafes and restaurants and over 300 shops, including 8 grocery stores, pharmacies and health clubs all within 15 minutes’ walk.
LinkedIn: @CanaryWharfGroup
Instagram: @canarywharflondon
TikTok: @canarywharflondon
Twitter: @CanaryWharfGrp / @Level39CW

About Kadans Science Partner

Kadans Science Partner is the European leader investing in the development of ecosystems and real estate with a dedicated focus on the knowledge intensive sector. Kadans has invested across various specific areas, like agri-tech in Wageningen, life sciences in Leiden, and cell & gene therapy in Stevenage, UK. Kadans provides its tenants with an array of additional services tailored to their specific needs. In December 2020, Kadans was acquired by AXA IM Alts, which, as a long- term capital partner, has allowed us to significantly accelerate our growth.

Kadans is currently present on 26 campuses, in 7 countries, where it operates over 7 million sq ft of space for over 400 tenants, including start-ups, scale-ups, corporates, government bodies and educational institutes. Kadans has a solid view of the developments our tenants and partners are currently working on and which parties in our network could benefit from connecting.
Instagram: @kadanssciencepartner
Twitter: @KadansScience