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Acorda Therapeutics, PharmaNet Development Group, BioDefense

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Acorda Therapeutics has agreed to lease another 8,000 square feet for its Hawthorne, NY, headquarters, bringing its space to a total of 38,000 square feet.
 
“It’s reflective of the growth of the company. We’re just running out of places to put people,” said Ron Cohen, Acorda’s president and chief executive officer.
 
Acorda bases about 70 of its 130 employees at its Hawthorne offices at 15 Skyline Drive, a 55,000-square-foot building within the Mid-Westchester Executive Park owned by Mack-Cali Realty. The rest are sales people scattered nationally.
 
Cohen said the company had yet to decide which staffers or operations will be in the new space, pending a reconfiguration of all the company’s Hawthorne space. Acorda has added employees in recent months for a variety of functions, including its clinical department, manufacturing, sales and marketing, commercial operations, finance and pre-clinical.
 
Drivers of the employee growth include a successful phase 3 trial of Fampridine-SR, Acorda’s lead clinical stage product intended to improve walking ability in people with muscular dystrophy, as well as expansion of the company’s sales of Zanaflex capsules intended to treat spasticity.
 
The quicker those businesses expand, the more people Acorda plans to hire, though the company has not said how many it expects to add.
 
Acorda first moved to 15 Skyline Drive in August 1998, originally leasing 13,000 square feet.
 
“Now that we’re here and now that we’ve hired all these people, it becomes very difficult to move. If you move too far, you lose people,” Cohen said. “Unless something dramatically negative were to develop, I think it would be very difficult for us to move at this point. We’re really in a position where we have to grow at least within a 25 mile radius of where we are now.”
 

 
PharmaNet Development Group has agreed to lease about 50,000 square feet at CentreGreen Five, a Class A office building planned for Cary, NC, by Highwoods Properties.
 
PharmaNet, a publicly traded global drug development company, next year will consolidate Research Triangle operations of approximately 100 employees now located within 32,000 square feet in Cary and Morrisville.
 
Some of those employees work as clinical research associates, while others are based in PharmaNet’s biostatistics, data management, and IT development units.
 
“That area [Research Triangle] is a good place to recruit talented personnel,” said Anne-Marie Hess, a spokeswoman for PharmaNet. “The clinical research market – the market for [clinical research organizations] and our services – has been growing between 14 and 17 percent a year. And since it’s a service oriented business, as you grow in revenues, you typically have to grow with personnel as well.”
 
Over the next several years – “closer to five than to 10,” Hess said -- PharmaNet expects to double its Cary work force to 200 employees. PharmaNet is headquartered in Princeton, NJ, and has about 2,200 workers worldwide.
 
Skipper Day of Carolina Commercial represented PharmaNet in lease talks.
 
The pre-lease, announced earlier this month, allows Highwoods to start construction of the $15.7 million, 98,000-square-foot CentreGreen Five. Construction is set to start in May, with completion projected in the second quarter of 2008.
 
Highwoods would not disclose asking rent for the new building. Highwoods is a Raleigh-based real estate investment trust that owned or had interests in some 34.3 million square feet of office space plus 719 acres of land as of Dec. 31.
 

 
BioDefense has moved its headquarters from Lexington Mass., into 32,500 square feet at 12 Channel St. in Boston, owned by the city’s Economic Development and Industrial Corporation.
 
BioDefense, whose technologies protect people from harmful biological agents and health hazards, was represented by two professionals from Meredith & Grew -- senior vice president John Carroll and associate Robert Kinlin. The commercial real estate firm announced the deal earlier this month.
 
Built in 1941 and renovated in 1994, 12 Channel Street is a 297,025-square-foot, nine-story warehouse within Boston’s 3.1-million-square-foot Marine Industrial Park. The City of Boston purchased the 191-acre site in 1977 and converted the former waterfront military base into the largest industrial park in Massachusetts. The park is 95 percent occupied.
 
 
Got Deals? Send your news to BioRegion News editor Alex Philippidis, [email protected] or (212) 651-5631.

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