New Life Science Spaces and Factories Under Construction and Opening

construction workers standing next to crane

This week has marked a number of stories over construction projects and real estate developers focused on the life sciences market. Here’s a look.

The Discovery Labs Construction Begins in King of Prussia

In what is being called the largest co-working facility for life sciences and technology in the world, MLP Ventures is beginning construction of The Discovery Labs, a one-million-square-foot campus in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The renovations are on a former GlaxoSmithKline research-and-development plant on more than 200 acres.

Although renovations will begin in the next 18 months, the site is already open to companies. It allows organizes to customize some small laboratories or an entire building.

The new site is close to affordable housing, has significant infrastructure, including 8 chiller plants, 4 steam plant boilers, 7 stand-by generator plants, laboratory gas systems, as well as auditorium and dining, collaborative spaces, a fitness center and helipad. In addition to the one-million-square-feet of space, it has a 500,000 square foot vector manufacturing center, 100,000 square foot business incubator and laboratory, and is made up of 12 buildings capable of hosting more than 3,000 employees.

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Biotech and R&D Site Opens in Downtown Birmingham, Alabama

A new life science center has opened in downtown Birmingham, Alabama at the former Rush Hotel. It already has several tenants, including Cerflux, a biotech company that offers an assay to identify the most appropriate first-line cancer treatments. Another tenant is Conserv, which offers sensor hardware and analytics for preventive care for art and cultural collections via environmental monitoring. The site is about 9,000 square feet. The building was acquired in 2017 by Redmont R&D for $390,000 and was developed by Joseph McClure Commercial Real Estate.

Precision BioSciences Building Manufacturing Plant in Durham, North Carolina

Precision BioSciences opened its Manufacturing Center for Advanced Therapeutics (MCAT), the first cGMP compliant manufacturing facility in the U.S. focused on genome-edited, off-the-shelf chimera antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell products. The plant is currently undergoing commissioning, qualification, and validation (CQV) and expects to begin manufacturing in the fourth quarter of this year. It will produce three different drug products, allogeneic CAR-T cells, messenger RNA (mRNA), and adeno-associated viral vectors (AAV). Precision will first use it to create materials for its Phase I/II clinical trials beginning in 2020.

“As part of our mission to overcome cancer and provide valuable new treatment options for patients, we are rapidly advancing a pipeline of next-generation off-the-shelf CAR-T product candidates and we anticipate, once optimized, this platform will be able to support two new clinical programs per year,” stated Matt Kane, co-founder and chief executive officer of Precision. “Given the potential output of our platform, we’ve known from the beginning that it was critical for us to address the need for scalable manufacturing of cell-therapy products in order to be able to effectively deliver them to patients. In addition to our clinical work, it also has the potential to be a commercial launch facility with the capacity to generate up to 10,000 doses of CAR-T cell therapies and 4,000 doses of gene therapies per year.”

Breakthrough Properties Building Life Science Site in Boston

Arie Belldegrun, founder and former chair, president and chief executive officer of Kite Pharma, has teamed up with real estate developer Tishman Speyer to launch a biotech-focused real estate company, Breakthrough Properties. Kite was acquired by Gilead Sciences in 2017 for $12 billion.

Belldegrun’s family company, Bellco Capital, entered the joint venture and has bought its first property, a one-acre site in Boston’s Seaport District. The site went for $80 million. Breakthrough is also looking at sites in San Francisco. Belldegrun has also launched Vida Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on biotech startups.

He indicates that Breakthrough Properties will also offer business development services to its tenants, and Vida Ventures may invest in some of the biotech companies it hosts.

The site in the Seaport District has 250,000 square feet of development rights and is planned to be completed by 2021.

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