Case Study


Delivering the corporate vision in the UK

February 17, 2020


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Chris Williams

Senior Director

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Sanofi is a global biopharmaceutical company focused on human health, dedicated to supporting people through their health challenges. With more than 100,000 people in 100 countries, Sanofi is transforming scientific innovation into healthcare solutions around the globe. This mission requires an outstanding working environment in which its people can thrive. Sanofi’s promise to its staff is to: “Support your passion (and) empower to make a difference.” The organisation had a clear, transformational vision, which UK managing director Hugo Fry was driving forward. He wanted to bring together three fragmented operations – in Oxford, Guildford and Maidenhead – to a single headquarters site that would be the catalyst for greater innovation and collaboration.

CBRE enjoys a global account relationship with Sanofi – which has involved 30 major projects in 2019, and was asked to support the programme providing both commercial and technical advice through multiple phases.

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The Solution & Result

Our support has involved experts from across CBRE, working together in a coordinated manner towards a common goal:

  • Location analytics: At the outset, we analysed many criteria to identify the appropriate location for the consolidated site, including a rigorous assessment of the travel implications for 375 existing members of staff, alongside future skills availability. This analysis pinpointed the outskirts of Reading – ideally east of the city, in close proximity to the M4 – as a core location of interest.
  • Developing the workplace strategy: A workplace assessment of the 3 Sanofi buildings within the Greater London Area - Guildford, Oxford and Maidenhead was conducted to understand the current space offering and how those spaces where being used. The aim of the study was to inform requirements for a new space and assess opportunities for working in different ways. An additional benefit of implementing ‘agile’ ways of working, was a ten per cent reduction in the floorspace requirement per person.
  • Negotiating and acquiring space in the target area: We were aware of refurbished space coming to the market in the Thames Valley Park – a business park that presents a striking combination of commercial activity (being home to the UK headquarters of both Microsoft and Oracle) with open green spaces (an 80 acre waterside nature reserve). CBRE assisted with a deal that worked for both landlord and tenant – providing a highly competitive price to Sanofi in return for its longer-term commitment to the site
  • Project management support throughout the programme: Acting as the single point of contact for Sanofi and managing a large multidisciplinary team of internal and external stakeholders to enable essential deadlines and budgets to be met, including the final relocation of Sanofi’s workforce from its three previous sites into the single new HQ
  • Negotiating acceptable exit arrangements from Oxford and Guildford: Including the negotiation of dilapidations and the early surrender of the leases in Oxford, to complete the consolidation from the three original offices into one.


The result delivered a £1M capex saving – through value engineering the work, without detracting from the ‘collaborative’ design concept. As a consequence, Sanofi is in an outstanding position to capitalise on the opportunities in the UK biopharmaceutical market during the decade ahead.

Our partnership with CBRE formed early - they have been supportive at every stage - demonstrating their knowledge and experience, challenging our teams where opportunities existed and guiding us towards creative, cost efficient and effective solutions.
Hugo FryManaging Director - Sanofi UK
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