AstraZeneca PLC Consolidating 350 California Jobs to the Bay Area

Published: Sep 29, 2016

AstraZeneca Consolidating 350 California Jobs to the Bay Area September 28, 2016
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

AstraZeneca , with worldwide headquarters in Cambridge, UK, announced this week that it is consolidating some of its California staffers at The Cove at Oyster Point in South San Francisco.

More than 350 AstraZeneca employees will move into 163,00 square feet at The Cove, which is currently under a second phase of construction by HCP Inc. It is at Highway 101 and Oyster Point Boulevard, and is home to biotech startups Denali Therapeutics and CytomX Therapeutics. AstraZeneca expects to move its staff into the facility in the fourth quarter of next year.

AstraZeneca is making a number of real estate moves. In late August, the company placed its U.S. headquarters located in Fairfax, Delaware, up for sale. This came about only a week after news that AstraZeneca was selling its antibiotics business to Pfizer (PFE) for more than $1.5 billion.

The company is also working to cut costs, including cutting jobs. In May of this year, it announced plans to cut jobs in order to take $1 billion out of its budget by the end of 2017.

In the Bay Area, the move is designed to consolidate the company’s homegrown and acquired operations. AstraZeneca currently has facilities in Mountain View, California, and the MedImmune vaccines division works out of Hayward. Acerta Pharma, in which AstraZeneca acquired a majority stake in December 2015, is located in Redwood City. And the company’s Pearl Therapeutics, which focuses on respiratory diseases, is also in Redwood City.

The San Francisco Business Times writes, “Combining all those employees at one site—AstraZeneca did not say whether it would lay off in the process—would put the existing space on the market at a time when early-stage companies, Merck and others are competing with the tech industry to lock up real estate along the Peninsula.”

“Our new South San Francisco location—where biotech and Silicon Valley intersect—brings all of our California employees to one site and provides opportunities to access exciting science both inside and outside our walls,” said Sean Bohen, AstraZeneca’s executive vice president of global medicines development and chief medical officer, in a statement.

The two biggest biotech clusters in the U.S. are Cambridge, Massachusetts and the San Francisco Bay Area. South San Francisco has more than 70 biotech companies jammed into a two-mile-square area. Those companies include Genentech (part of Roche , Amgen and Exelixis .

The appeal of both locations that are usually cited are proximity to top academic institutions that produce top biotech talent, and the presence of life science-related venture capital. According to MoneyTree Reports, which is published by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), venture capital funding in the Bay Area for biotechs has grown from $1.89 billion in 2014 to $2.76 billion in 2015.

The Cove, when completed, will be seven buildings totaling 884,000 square feet. It will include a 30,000-square-foot amenities space, meeting space, fitness center, hotel and green space. The entire surrounding area is also the focus of life science-related real estate development. Blackstone Group/BioMed is planning a possible 1 million-square-foot development near The Cove called Gateway of Pacific. Phase 3 Properties is currently converting Centennial Towers, which has 12 stories and 150,000 square feet of space, into Genesis-South San Francisco, which will also include a new 21-story, 400,000-square-foot structure along Highway 101.

"The City of South San Francisco is the largest biotech center in the world. SSF has more life science employees, more patents, more Venture Capital funding, more NIH funding, and more drugs actually developed – than any other city in the world," Alex Greenwood, Director of Economic & Community Development told BioSpace in a July email. "The City of South San Francisco has 11 million sq. ft. of biotech space, and there is an additional 6.2 million sq. ft. being built over the next 3-4 years. In addition to worldwide biotech (Genentech, Amgen, Thermo Fisher, Theravance, etc.) and pharma (Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, etc.), South San Francisco also has the most dynamic, robust ecosystem of biotech start-ups in the world, as well as two Google-owned life science firms (Calico and Verily)."

This is what AstraZeneca is looking for in hiring scientists and execs.

Back to news