Gilead Seeks to Build Six-Story Lab in HQ Expansion, May House Up to 5,000 New Employees

Published: Apr 12, 2016

Gilead Seeks to Build Six-Story Lab in HQ Expansion, May House Up to 5,000 New Employees
April 11, 2016
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

FOSTER CITY, Calif. – Gilead Sciences is moving closer to the expansion of its 72-acre headquarters campus this week as it meets with city officials to discuss plans for a six-story lab facility that could house up to 5,000 new employees, the San Mateo Daily Journal reported this morning.

Gilead’s plans include the razing the company’s existing one-story lab facility for the new construction, which would be about 231,000 square feet, the Journal reported. Ground has not yet been broken on the new construction as the company has not yet received approval from the local government.

The new lab space isn’t Gilead’s only plans for expansion. Gilead recently snapped up property in the San Francisco Bay area for about $120 million that could provide the company with an additional 800,000 square feet of space. The total land mass acquired is made of two parcels. The larger of the two sites was set for 600,000 square feet of Class A office space in the form of two towers, while the smaller site will be entitled for 200,000 square feet of commercial office space, the Times reported. Gilead is in the process of rebuilding some facilities on its current campus. When the project is complete, the company should have 17 new buildings on its site, according to a March report in the San Francisco Business Times.

“As Gilead’s business continues to grow, we are always evaluating needs to expand the Foster City campus with regard to both laboratory and office space to assist in our mission of delivering life-saving medicines to patients worldwide,” a Gilead spokesperson told the Journal in an email.

The moves are being made as Gilead looks to expand its pipeline of HIV/AIDS drugs, as well as its hepatitis drugs, including the blockbuster drugs Harvoni and Sovaldi. The expansion could also support manufacture of a newly acquired Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase (ACC) inhibitor program Gilead now holds following its $1.2 billion deal to acquire Cambridge, Mass.-based Nimbus Apollo, Inc. Gilead has been looking to bolster its drug offerings beyond its dominance in the hepatitis C market with its blockbuster drugs Harvoni and Sovaldi, particularly after a court ruled earlier this year that the drugs infringed on patents owned by Merck . A jury awarded Merck $200 million in damages for patent infringement in late March. Merck sought 10 percent of revenue generated from the two drugs, which was nearly $20 billion in 2015. Carlsbad, Calif.-based Ionis Pharmaceuticals , which owns the patents in partnership with Merck, will receive 20 percent of the award.

Gilead is not the only company in the Bay Area to be expanding. Gilead’s expansion plans will make it a neighbor of for gene-sequencing firm Illumina Inc., which broke ground on a $149 million construction project of its own. In January, Illumina and BioMed Realty Trust entered into a 15-year lease for a new 360,000 square foot, state-of-the-art, build-to-suit campus in Foster City, Calif. BioMed bought the property for $37 million in 2013. Illumina could extend its lease. The campus, which is expected to open in 2017 will include laboratory and office buildings, a large central quad with an outdoor amphitheater, playing fields and meeting spaces. The new campus will help bolster Illumina’s expanding gene-sequencing business, which includes a new partnership with Hartwell Autism Research and Technology Initiative to establish a genomic database for autism spectrum disorder. Also in August, Illumina formed Helix, a consumer genomics company located in the Bay Area. The new company will offer affordable genomic sequencing and database service for samples provided through third-party partners. Customers will have access to their own data and be able to utilize a variety of yet-to-be-created consumer applications, Illumina said.

Shares of Gilead, which employs about 7,500 globally, were slightly up in early morning trading. The stock closed Friday at $96.09 per share, but hit $96.16 in early trading.

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