AstraZeneca Opens New Bay Area R&D Site With 400 Employees


After a two-year wait, AstraZeneca finally has employees under one roof in the Bay Area.  The U.K.-based company moved employees from several subsidiaries located across the area into a 163,000-square-foot facility in South San Francisco known as The Cove at Oyster Point.

AstraZeneca’s new facility will have employees from subsidiary companies Acerta Pharma, MedImmune, Pearl Therapeutics and AstraZeneca’s TIDE (Technology Innovation & Delivery Excellence) working side-by-side on their therapeutic missions. The parent company moved about 400 employees into The Cove this week.

Sean Bohen, head of global medicines development and AstraZeneca’s chief medical officer, called the opening of the new site a milestone for the company. He said it enabled employees from four organizations under the AstraZeneca umbrella to “work side-by-side at the center of where biotechnology and high-tech industry intersects.”

“This is a demonstration of our commitment to a strong and visible presence in California, our continued growth through science- and collaboration-led innovation, and our dedication to being a great place to work for current and future employees,” Bohen said in a statement.

Bahija Jallal, president of MedImmune, agreed with Bohen. Jallal said collaboration is a “key driver of innovation” and added that it was at the core of the company’s culture.

“The opening of our new South San Francisco site brings together the best of both worlds -- a shared drive across our employee base to advance great science and bring new treatments to patients, while providing an opportunity to tap into the Bay Area’s transformative biotech ecosystem, helping to foster great progress internally and externally,” Jallal said in a statement.

The Cove, a project of HCP Life Science Estates, broke ground in 2015. When the spades first bit into earth The Cove was billed as South San Francisco’s first ground-up multi-tenant life science development in nearly a decade. The campus design consists of seven buildings ranging in size from 102,000 square feet to 158,000 square feet in both single- and multi-tenant building configurations. In addition to AstraZeneca, other companies who have space in The Cove include LakePharma, Five Prime Therapeutics, Denali Therapeutics and CytomX Therapeutics.

But AstraZeneca isn’t alone among the big pharma companies taking over space in the Bay Area. Two years ago Merck cut a deal with Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. to build a nine-story, 294,000 square foot facility with research space and office space in the 200 block of East Grand Avenue. Construction began on the project last year and is anticipated to be ready for occupancy next year.

The South San Francisco area has about 10 million square feet of life science research space now, with more than half of that already in use. A number of developments have sprung up in the area to provide homes for these innovative companies, including BioMed Realty’s Gateway of the Pacific project — a proposed 1.3 million square foot campus that will include ample office and laboratory space. The first phase of the project is scheduled to develop about 500,000 square feet.

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