AbSci Inks Lease for New HQ in Washington, Plans to Hire

AbSci Inks Lease for New HQ in Washington, Plans to Hire August 30, 2016
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

PORTLAND, Ore. – After shifting course in presumed plans to take over space in the former waterfront Red Lion Hotel in Vancouver, Wash., AbSci has finalized a lease to relocate its headquarters to a different area of the city, the new Hudson Building in downtown Vancouver.

The company said it plans to begin renovations in the building in September and begin to occupy the space before the year is up. AbSci said it plans to use the new facilities to develop and commercialize its protein production technology. The company did not provide information on how much space it was taking over in the Hudson Building.

The relocation will support the rapid growth the company has experienced since its founding in 2011. And AbSci said it expects to more than double its current number of employees over the next five years. The startup currently employs 14, but expects to add another 20 to 30 jobs by 2021, the company said in a statement this morning. AbSci said it attributed its growth to “significant industry interest and development in the company's next-generation protein manufacturing platform, SoluPro, which offers dramatic cost, yield and manufacturing flexibility improvements to its biopharmaceutical partners.” With its SoluPro technology platform, AbSci develops full-length antibodies in the bacteria E. coli. The SoluPro system “eliminates the formulation of inclusion bodies in the production process, allowing high quality, soluble versions of these highly valued proteins and antibodies to be produced in quantity,” according to information on the company’s website.

While AbSci will shift its business to Vancouver, Wash. from Portland, as was its plan, the company was originally expected to be an anchor in a plan by the Port of Vancouver to turn the aforementioned Red Lion Hotel into a biotech startup space. As BioSpace reported earlier this month, in November 2015 AbSci announced that it was leasing 6,200 square feet of space in the location. That move to the hotel was expected to spark the creation of a biotech startup incubator. The company planned to move to Vancouver from Oregon due to the lack of available space in that city. However, AbSci said it was growing too quickly for that space and needed to find another option. Although the company had received some incentives to move to the hotel, AbSci previously said it would repay the funds, which were about $46,000.

"We've been committed to finding a long-term home in Vancouver, but needed a space that could accommodate our unique requirements and continued growth for at least the next five years," Sean McClain, founder and chief executive officer of AbSci, said in a statement. "The Hudson Building's modern layout allowed us to design an efficient and collaborative facility that will support the company's growth for the foreseeable future.”

To move to downtown Vancouver, the company secured several incentives including a commitment of $200,000 from Gov. Jay Inslee's Strategic Reserve Fund to be used for the build out of AbSci's lab, the company said in a statement this morning.

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