Booming Shire to Take Over Sanofi Genzyme's HQ in Kendall Square, Eyes Hiring Another 400 Employees

Published: Nov 23, 2016

Booming Shire to Take Over Sanofi Genzyme's HQ in Kendall Square, Eyes Hiring Another 400 Employees November 22, 2016
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

LEXINGTON, Mass. – Shire continues to expand its presence in booming Kendall Square and this morning the company announced it will establish a rare disease innovation hub that will include the leasing of 343,000 square feet of a former Genzyme property—which is adjacent to current Shire property.

Shire said it will use the space to create a cross-disciplinary Kendall Square campus, with teams spanning research, clinical development, medical affairs, business development and other related functions. Shire anticipates taking over the space during the third quarter of 2018 with occupancy expected in the first quarter of 2019. The additional space in Kendall Square gives Shire more than 2 million square feet of research, manufacturing and administrative space in Massachusetts.

Shire secured the space through a lease agreement with BioMed Realty, a company which focuses on life science and biotech properties, and focuses on core U.S. life science markets including San Francisco, San Diego, Maryland, New York/New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Seattle.

The new space will allow the company to not only expand its drug development efforts, but also increase hiring. The company said it is currently hiring for more than 400 positions in Massachusetts. Shire employs more than 3,000 in Massachusetts. Over the past 11 years, Shire said it has “increased the number of employees in the state by more than 670 percent,” which includes the creation of more than 700 new jobs in 2015 alone. In June, Shire announced it was hiring between 100 and 200 employees as part of an expansion of the Baxalta research facility in Kendall Square.

A presence in in the white-hot pharma mecca of Kendall Square, a square mile of pharma and biotech heavy hitters, is one of the treasures that Shire acquired in the Baxalta deal. In December 2015, Baxalta opened the Kendall Square-based research facility focused on developing oncology therapies and biosimilars. Baxalta already has approximately 400 employees working at that research site in Kendall Square.

"By expanding our presence in Cambridge, with its close proximity to best-in-class hospitals, research institutions, universities and a thriving biotechnology community, we will strengthen our ties with the early innovators around us to shape the next generation of breakthrough therapies for patients with high unmet needs,” Flemming Ornskov, Shire’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. "These plans signify our continued growth and our deep and enduring commitment to serving patients, families and caregivers across the globe who are affected by rare diseases and highly specialized conditions."

Because of the rapid growth in Kendall Square, Shire said it will undertake a strategic review to identify which specific functions and individuals will be located there over time.

Shire’s announcement this morning did not provide much information regarding the scope of the new innovation hub, but it’s likely to continue to hone existing pipeline therapies that includes more than 40 different programs and six therapeutics areas. Shire’s rare disease platform expanded earlier this year following the completion of its acquisition of Baxalta.

Shire’s pipeline includes Baxalta’s hematology drug, Adynovate, and Hyqvia, a next-generation subcutaneous immunoglobulin (IG) product to treat patients with primary immunodeficiency. Shire's top drug is Vyvanse for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHA) and for moderate-to-severe Binge Eating Disorder. Another rare disease drug in Shire’s arsenal is Cinryze for the treatment of hereditary angioedema, which is expected to generate $765 million.

Sanofi Genzyme plans to move nearby in 2018 to a new headquarters being built on Binney Street. Alnylam Pharmaceuticals had been initially tabbed to take over Genzyme’s HQ, but Alnylam’s shares lost market value after halting development of one of its lead drugs.

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