Prince Charles spends day in Cambridge opening new AstraZeneca HQ and meeting locals at the market

  • ITV Anglia's Matthew Hudson was one of the first to get a look around the new HQ, check out his report here.

What might seem like science fiction for most of us is another day at work for the experts at AstraZeneca's £1bn HQ in Cambridge.

Today the Prince of Wales had the honour of opening the company's new research centre, and got to take a first-hand look at some of the high tech projects AZ is working on.

Prince Charles opens the new AZ research centre. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The building lies at the heart of Cambridge's bio-medical campus.

Around 2,200 scientists will soon be working there- part of the £5.2bn the company spends on research and development worldwide every year.

The aim for those working at the centre is to produce the next generation of medicines for diseases like cancer and diabetes, drawing on the expertise around the city.

Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President of Research and Development at AZ, said: "The building is glass, you can see through it. It's a building that is open for collaboration.

"We've tried to design it in a way that is porous and inviting. We want many of our friends and colleagues from around the campus to come and visit us and engage with us, work on scientific projects together and hopefully as a consequence discover even better medicines."

Scientists working in the new AstraZeneca HQ. Credit: ITV News Anglia

As Prince Charles got to see, scientists at the HQ are already working on brilliant new innovations. Read all about it here:

Some of those technological advancements even include scientists interacting with holograms, which helps increase the precision of their work.

IT Project Manager Neil Martin said: "I think it is kind of weird when people walk passed because you are sort of grabbing thin air, you're bringing pieces of paper, you're dragging protocols across.

"So when people look at what you're doing it does look a bit abstract but to us it's just clicking things on screen really."

The goggles let them use equipment the rest of us can't even see. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Astrazeneca became a household name during the pandemic for its part in the creation of a Covid vaccine.

Unsurprisingly, it's now at the forefront of developing the next generation of Covid testing equipment.

Experts have created an automated pippette system that is more accurate and up to ten times faster than sampling by hand.

Project Manager Crystal La Bonte said: "It reduces our pippeting errors by 50% and it also takes away the fatigue that a manual pippette would do, doing all of these by hand."

A robot arm filling the pippettes. Credit: ITV News Anglia

And it was a busy day for Prince Charles.

He started his morning with a walk around Cambridge city centre where thousands of people turned out to greet him.

The Prince, who studied at Cambridge, spent twenty minutes or so walking around the market stopping off on the way to talk to dozens of stallholders and passers by. 

The Prince of Wales received a warm welcome from people in Cambridge. Credit: ITV News Anglia

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