The final bolt for the highest point of the Pears Building was put in place yesterday, as part of the topping out ceremony for the new home for the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation.

The bolt for the seventh floor was put in place by Sir Trevor Pears, the executive chair of the Pears Foundation, which has made a £5m donation to the building, with help from the chair of the Royal Free Charity, Judy Dewinter

The ceremony marks the beginning of the next phase of the construction, when the focus will turn to the details of the outside appearance and the start of the process to kit out the inside of the building.

“It’s a great feeling to have reached this point,” said Chris Burghes, chief executive of the Royal Free Charity, which is funding the building. “And we’re delighted that Sir Trevor Pears, whose foundation contributed £5 million to the project, is here to help us celebrate it.”

Kate Slemeck, chief executive of the Royal Free Hospital, said: “I know that this building, and the Institute of Immunity and Transplantation which it houses, will be something that we can be really proud of not only here at the Royal Free London but also in the community. Hampstead will truly be a global leader in this area of research and patient care.

“The expansion of the institute into this new building will mean many more of our patients can participate in ground-breaking trials – trials that will make a real difference to their lives and their health outcomes. This includes patients with blood cancers, immune conditions, type 1 diabetes, patients requiring transplants – and many others.”

The Pears Building will house the UCL Institute of Immunity and Transplantation (IIT), a research facility currently located in the main hospital building. The new facility, which will be one of only five clinical research centres of its kind in the world, will provide more space to allow the IIT’s research to expand. Scientists working at the IIT are aiming to develop better treatments for cancer, diabetes, HIV and tuberculosis and to support transplantation.

Sir Trevor said: “My brothers and I have been keenly watching this building develop from the window of our offices.  We feel confident that the institute will be a fantastic addition to the hospital, Hampstead and London both physically and in terms of what it will contribute to health and wellbeing.”

The new research centre is a partnership between the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, the Royal Free Charity and University College London. 

Professor Hans Stauss, director of the IIT, said: “This is an important milestone in our ambition to be one of the world-leading centres for understanding the human immune system and for developing new forms of immunotherapy that can transform the lives of our patients.”

Image: Royal Free Charity chair Judy Dewinter and Sir Trevor Pears help put the final bolt in on the seventh floor of the Pears Building