The nation's largest publicly traded real estate investment trusts specializing in the life sciences offered chillier forecasts this year in the US for signing tenants to new leases, renewing existing ones, or breaking ground on new projects as landlords and tenants continue to feel the effects of the ongoing financial downturn.

In separate conference calls last week, top executives from Alexandria Real Estate Equities, BioMed Realty Trust, and HCP cautioned that life-science companies are increasingly skittish about leasing new space for the long term.

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