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Life Sciences Building Opens in New York City, Eli Lilly the Major Tenant

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Nestled between Bellevue Hospital and New York University's Langone Medical Center, the Alexandria Center for Life Sciences opened in late September on New York City's East Side. Its anchor tenant, with 90,000 square feet of office and lab space, is Eli Lilly's ImClone Systems, which is relocating from space that president of Lilly Oncology John Johnson says it has outgrown.

According to the developers and new tenants, the center will help spur collaborations among industry, academia, and venture capital firms in the area. While New York has each of those components, it has been unable to capitalize on potential synergies to the extent that Boston and San Diego have. "We're hopeful that this facility is going to facilitate and strengthen that process," said OrbiMed Advisors' Carl Gordon, who spoke at the opening of the building.

In its space, which was designed to the company's specifications, ImClone will continue its studies into biologics for treating cancer as well as both pre- and post-clinical biomarkers. The location, Lilly's Jan Lundberg said, will keep them close to current and future collaborators in the area, such as scientists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and NYU. Johnson noted that Erbitux, ImClone's antibody-based colorectal cancer drug, began as a collaborative project with Sloan-Kettering.

"[NYU] and also other nearby sites enhance the coordination of great scientific minds in New York City to come up with the next potentially life-saving biologics," Lundberg said.

Not all of the spaces are as large as Lilly's. The building also includes a so-called science hotel where tenants can "check in" to use already built-out lab and office space for shorter lease lengths, said Alexandria's Joel Marcus. The space is designed for new start-ups, he added.

The building is about 50 percent leased, Marcus said, with much of the remaining space in lease negotiations. A second tower is also under consideration, as the first one fills up and as observers keep an eye on the real estate market.

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