The London Cancer Hub

The London Cancer Hub will be a global centre for cancer research and innovation, delivering real benefits for cancer patients and driving economic growth.

Theme: Health and Social Care (in OPE)

The project is a partnership between The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, and the London Borough of Sutton, with the support of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Epsom and St Helier, the Mayor of London and One Public Estate. The ambition is to create the world’s leading life-science district specialising in cancer research, treatment, education and enterprise. 

The challenge

The ICR discovers more new cancer drugs than any other academic centre in the world and the ICR and The Royal Marsden jointly run one of the world’s largest phase I clinical trial centres. They work with a diverse range of biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device and software companies.

The ICR is currently constrained by the space and facilities available for both its own drug discovery research, and for commercial partners to co-locate, on its existing site in Sutton. It is having to turn down opportunities to work in partnership with industry on innovative projects. 

The London Cancer Hub development will remove these constraints by creating a vibrant space for collaboration between academic researchers, clinicians and innovative companies. It will enhance the discovery and development of cancer drugs and new technologies, helping cement the UK’s reputation as a global leader in life sciences.

The vision

The London Cancer Hub is a major regeneration project that will completely reimagine the existing site in Sutton, South London. The development will create a world-leading life-science district specialising in cancer research, treatment, education and enterprise on a unique 21-hectare site.

Image of architectural building

When complete, it will offer more than 280,000 square metres of life-science buildings, including facilities for cancer research, diagnosis, treatment, education and commercial collaboration. The London Cancer Hub will provide incubator and innovation space for small and larger life-science companies, and shared buildings that nurture interactions between academia and industry. The vision for the hub has been visualised in this ‘flythrough’.

Working together, this community will take new treatments to patients through clinical trials and commercial partnership – delivering internationally leading cancer research, treatment and enterprise for the benefit of patients.


The ICR and The Royal Marsden already form one of the leading cancer research and treatment centres in the world, but The London Cancer Hub will double the capacity for cancer research and enterprise on this site. 

The London Cancer Hub partners have been making steady progress towards this vision for the last five years. The London Borough of Sutton joined the One Public Estate (OPE) programme in October 2016 and was awarded funding to kick start delivery of the project, supporting market testing, land assembly and business case development.

Since then, Sutton Council has completed its investment of more than £30m to acquire 4.8 hectares of land, alongside the land currently occupied by the ICR and The Royal Marsden. The first of a cluster of new buildings has been built, including the ICR’s Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery (a £75m state-of-the-art research centre), a £40m new secondary academy accommodating 1,275 students, and the £20m Maggie’s Cancer Centre to enhance the pastoral support available for patients at The Royal Marsden.

The partners have now secured £8.4 million in funding from the Strategic Investment Pot to support a new innovation centre containing laboratories and collaboration space at the heart of The London Cancer Hub. Once open in 2021, this will provide a home for life-science companies to work alongside world class scientists from the ICR.

The OPE Programme continues to help broker relationships with central government departments and, in particular, bringing together key transport stakeholders to provide impetus for significant public transport improvements to the site which is currently poorly served by public transport. The partners are currently working with OPE and external consultants to develop a business case to support transport improvements around The London Cancer Hub.

The outcomes

Once fully realised, The London Cancer Hub will deliver significant and wide-ranging benefits.

It will:

  • help to attract world-class researchers from across the globe to be part of London’s thriving life-science industry
  • be a game changer for UK cancer research – increasing the number of drugs that the ICR and its partners can discover, develop and commercialise and increasing the chances of transformative new cancer treatments reaching patients
  • attract UK and international businesses, bringing high-value investment, skills and knowledge to London
  • drive economic growth locally, regionally and nationally – generating a projected £13m in business rates and £1.2bn GVA to the UK economy annually
  • create jobs, generate revenue for the borough and help drive broader changes that will benefit all local residents
  • inspire and educate future scientists and clinicians, providing opportunities for the next generation of research leaders to pursue careers in science.