Meet the Occupier: Labcorp Drug Development


We pride ourselves at York Biotech Campus on being a base for some of the world’s leading bioscience organisations across a variety of fields including agri-tech, biotechnology, environmental, medical, healthcare and diagnostics. One of which is Labcorp Drug Development (formerly known as Covance), a business that supports the development of medicines from the drug discovery concept stage through to market.  These innovative and life-changing treatments for patients include vaccines and oncology therapies.

Employing more than 26,000 people worldwide, Labcorp Drug Development is on a mission to improve health and improve lives across the globe.

Labcorp Drug Development joined us at York Biotech Campus in 2017, in response to significant market growth for its services. We speak with Sarah Allars, Senior Project Manager and Interim Operations Manager at Labcorp Drug Development, who tells us more about the company and the base it has here on campus.

Tell us a little more about Labcorp Drug Development at York Biotech Campus?

“Our BioPharmCMC (Biopharmaceutical Chemistry, Manufacturing and Control) group is based here in York and is an extension of the team at our Harrogate site. We focus on large molecule medicines, including antibodies, vaccines and cell-based and gene therapies and have 20,000 ft2 of dedicated state of the art GMP laboratories and office space at the campus.

“We are currently a team of approximately 40 individuals, but we’re expecting to grow significantly over the coming months. The employees on campus have roles ranging from Quality Control Analyst, Quality Control Scientist, Method Development Scientist, Project Manager to those in the Sample and Material Management and Equipment and Metrology groups. Our team is filled by a range of people from new graduates through to those of us who have been in the business for over 20 years!”

Why did you move to the campus?

“York Biotech Campus appealed to us because of its easily accessible, central location. Yorkshire is a beautiful region and its proximity to our Harrogate site is a real benefit for our clients and the team as we can augment and extend our service offering by using a cross functional team of Harrogate staff to support the York base. We operate flexibly with most of the team frequently travelling between the two sites to support client projects.

“We also have a number of universities in the Yorkshire region that we already collaborate with, supporting career development sessions and a Masters course at the University of Leeds, so it’s important we can easily reach these.”

“We’re fully integrated into the region and we are so pleased to be contributing to the thriving bioscience sector here, from delivering world-leading innovation, to helping new talent grow.”

What’s your favourite thing about being based at York Biotech Campus?

“Aside from the York site being easy to reach and based in a stunning location surrounded by fields and woodland, the facilities for staff, including an onsite gym and restaurant, are fantastic. Being based on a campus site also opens up opportunities for broader networking with other organisations on campus, and we love being part of the community here.”

What’s Labcorp Drug Development’s biggest achievement as a science business?

“Labcorp Drug Development supported the development of each of the top 50-selling drugs globally, and typically is involved in 80% or more of the drugs approved each year by the US Food and Drug Administration, including therapies that treat cancer, infectious disease, cardiovascular disease and rare diseases. More recently, we have worked on many trials and studies of vaccines and therapeutics for COVID-19, including several of the vaccines that are being deployed around the world – so it’s hard to pick just the one big achievement!”

What exciting projects are you working on at the moment?

“There’s always something exciting happening with Labcorp Drug Development! One major standout in the UK, is a new diagnostic testing capability for COVID-19 at our site in Shardlow. This laboratory is operational and supporting our Leeds clinic, which is a clinical pharmacology services unit where investigational drugs are first tested in healthy volunteers. The innovation of combining diagnostic testing with our clinical trial lab testing is unique to Labcorp.”

Finally, what’s next for Labcorp Drug Development?

“In terms of our York base, we are continuously developing our services, which is why we’re recruiting over the coming months and we’re looking forward to welcoming fresh talent onto the team.

“Globally, it is a similar story. We have just opened our European Operations Centre in Mechelen, Belgium, which features a new automated kit production line supporting our industry-leading central laboratory services business. Labcorp Drug Development is also investing in the Asia-Pacific region, in oncology, in vaccines – wherever there is a need for drug development, we’re looking to be there.”

To find out more about Labcorp Drug Development, visit their website.