Cushman & Wakefield has hired the University of Cambridge’s Commercial and Estates Director as its Head of UK Life Sciences.
Michael Aston has spent the last five years at the University of Cambridge where he was responsible for the expansion of Europe’s leading life sciences cluster at Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC). Forming the heart of one of the world’s largest commercial life sciences clusters, CBC combines academic research, healthcare, education, commercial R&D and innovation, with over 20,000 biomedical professionals on a single campus.
In addition, Aston also developed the University’s portfolio of commercial office sites in the city centre, overseeing redevelopment and asset management strategies as it rapidly repositioned to a hub for blue-chip companies to concentrate their tech R&D.
A chartered accountant and surveyor, Aston began his career at Deloitte Corporate Finance and subsequently developed his experience at GSK and DTZ before working for several years in development consultancy in the Middle East.
Cushman & Wakefield’s Life Sciences team – part of its Healthcare division – provides real estate advice to the sector, including site selection and design, lease and portfolio management, operational advice, financing and capital markets. As Head of UK Life Sciences, Aston will lead and develop the firm’s existing sector relationships within the ‘Golden Triangle’ of London, Cambridge and Oxford, and across other UK knowledge clusters, with a focus on major investment and development projects.
Martin Robb, International Partner, Healthcare, at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “Michael’s experience overseeing one of the world’s most successful centres of life sciences will add significant value to our clients. The UK life sciences sector has been experiencing rapid growth in the past few years, underpinned by the excellence of the academic and scientific research taking place here, and his insight and connections will be of immediate benefit to us in servicing existing mandates across multiple service lines.”
Michael Aston, Head of UK Life Sciences at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “Real estate plays a vital role in the life sciences ecosystem, from the decision on location, to accessing the right facilities and keying into the network of partners necessary to deliver to market. Cushman & Wakefield’s credentials in the sector are firmly established and I look forward to bringing my experience to bear in supporting the sector’s growth.”
Around 250,000 people work in the UK Life Sciences sector which is the number-one target for Foreign Direct Investment into life sciences in Europe