Pharmaceuticals firm Merck is set to move into a major new London office base after planning permission was granted for the construction of the building near King’s Cross station.

The new building, designed by architect AHMM, will be known as the London Discovery Research Centre and building work could start before the end of 2021. The project is being developed in partnership with landowner the Precis Group.

Merck’s new ten-story office block could be finished as soon as 2025, when 800 staff would move in. The site, which will, be cleared through the demolition of an existing 1960s building, will also include a residential block and a new entrance to the London Underground.

The development is a further indication that demand for commercial office cleaning in London will remain high in the years ahead, as development continues to take place in the capital.

This comes despite an initial stated reluctance by some people to resume the kind of working patterns seen as normal before the pandemic; several surveys have shown many want to carry on working from home for at least part of the time, the latest example of which being a survey by Ezra showing only 25 per cent want to come back to the office on a full-time basis.

However, this may not be the reality for some firms. Goldman Sachs boss David Solomon suggested the trend for home working in the pandemic is an “aberration” that is not suited to the firm’s way of working will not last.

Whatever trends in working styles do emerge, Merck’s move could indicate another trend; Britain looks set to become a major hub for pharmaceutical and life sciences firms, following the UK’s success in both developing and dispensing Coronavirus vaccines.

Speaking this week, life sciences lead at Accenture Andrew Meade said these successes had enabled Britain to become “the dominant player in the global life sciences industry” over the past year.

Merck itself is involved in the global vaccination effort, as it is helping Johnson and Jonson to produce its vaccine, which has just been approved for use in the US.