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Deals and Doings: Dec 8, 2008

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Harvard Mulls Delay of Allston Campus Development as Endowment Losses Mount
 
Harvard University has raised the possibility that it may delay development of its planned campus in Boston’s Allston Landing section, as a consequence of its losing $8 billion, or 22 percent, of its endowment funds since June 30.
 
“We are reconsidering the scale and pace of planned capital projects, including the university’s development in Allston,” Harvard President Drew Faust and Executive Vice President Edward Forst said in a letter to university deans.
 
Faust and Forst cited a projection that the endowment may fall further, to 30 percent below the $36.9 billion recorded on June 30 of this year, or about $25.8 billion, by the time the current fiscal year ends on June 30.
 
Harvard uses its endowment to fund about 35 percent of its operating budget – up to $1.6 billion during the last fiscal year — and up to 50 percent of the budgets of some of its schools.
 
Last year Harvard broke ground on the first facility within Allston, a 589,000-square-foot building that will house the university’s stem-cell initiative. That building is the first of four buildings in what is to be the four-building, 1 million-square-foot Harvard Allston Science Complex. And the complex, in turn, is part of a larger, 20-year university plan to develop up to 5 million square feet of space on 215 of its 352 acres in Allston Landing for educational facilities and student housing.
 

 
Biogen Shifting HQ from Cambridge to Weston, Mass.; Inks 350K-Sq.-Ft. Lease
 
Biogen Idec said last week it will move its corporate headquarters in 2010 from Cambridge, Mass., to a 350,000-square-foot building being built in Weston, Mass., near Routes 128 and 20, by developer Boston Properties.
 
A Biogen spokeswoman told the Boston Globe the company will relocate to a now-vacant property at Routes 20 and 128/95. Biogen Idec will move there between 400 and 600 administrative staff in finance, legal and human resources from its current headquarters at 14 Cambridge Center in the late summer or early fall of 2010. The company employs 4,500 people worldwide, of which 1,800 are based in Massachusetts.
 
Biogen Idec will remain in about 400,000 square feet of lab space and about 200,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Cambridge. The company plans, over time, to convert the roughly 375,000 square feet of office space being vacated into laboratory facilities, the Globe reported.
 
Jennifer Neiman, a Biogen Idec spokeswoman, told the Boston Business Journal the move will allow the company to continue to grow lab and research operations in Cambridge, where it now occupies 960,000 square feet. The move out of 14 Cambridge Center will provide the company with additional space to expand lab functions while locating office workers in cheaper suburban space, she said.
 
Biogen will likely pay rent of close to $45 per square foot, versus the more than $60 per square foot rents typical within Cambridge, the Globe reported, citing several unnamed brokers.
 
Biogen was represented in lease talks by the commercial real estate firm DTZFHO Partners.
 

 
For $28.5M Cash, Developer Buys Bethpage, NY, Grumman Site Eyed for Life-Sci, Tech from Nassau County
 
Nassau County officials have selected an entity of Bethpage, NY, developer Steel Equities to redevelop the 101-acre former Grumman property in the hamlet, five months after it answered a formal request for proposals from the county, which took title to most of the site from the Navy on April 3 [BRN, April 7].
 
Steel K has signed a contract to purchase the property for $28.5 million in cash. Under the agreement, Nassau will sell 92 of the 96 acres it owns, and assign its rights as tenant to another nine county-leased acres owned by the Navy. About 6.4 of the 92 acres being sold by the county will be conveyed free to the town of Oyster Bay for a public recreation area and a Bethpage Fire District training facility. The town will oversee redevelopment of the property.
 
Nassau County will retain four acres for use as a drainage facility. County Executive Thomas Suozzi and other officials have said they envision the site being redeveloped as a center for biotechnology, nanotechnology, development of alternative fuels, and homeland security.
 
"Redevelopment of the Grumman site is an integral part of Nassau County's comprehensive economic development strategy to increase the tax base, create jobs, and protect the suburban quality of life that makes Nassau County such a great place to live," Suozzi said in a press release.
 
Located at the northeast intersection of South Oyster Bay Road and the Long Island Rail Road, the property has multiple buildings totaling about 1.3 million square feet. While owned by the Navy, the manufacturing site was operated by Grumman and successor Northrop Grumman, which shut the facility down during the mid-1990s military drawdown.
 
Steel Equities has converted about 2 million square feet of space on about 120 acres of mostly light industrial former Grumman land into Bethpage Business Park.
 

 
WuXi Shutting Down Philadelphia Biologics Manufacturing Operations; Refocusing on Testing, Cell Therapy Services
 
Shanghai-based WuXi PharmaTech, a pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device research and development outsourcing company, said it would end its US biologics manufacturing operations in Philadelphia, in a cost-cutting measure that will cost 100 employees their jobs.
 
WuXi Chairman and CEO Ge Li said in a statement the company will shift its Philadelphia operations to biologics testing and laboratory services, “which continue to show strong customer demand. Our biologics testing, cell banking, and cell therapy operations in Philadelphia and our St. Paul and Atlanta operations will be unaffected by these actions."
 
WuXi said it expects the shutdown to cost it $2.5 million to $3.5 million, then generate about $10 million in annual cost savings. WuXi acquired the Philadelphia facility following its takeover of AppTec, which gave WuXi biologics capacity and a base in the US.
 

 
Monsanto Inks 116,000 Sq. Ft. Built-to-Suit Office Lease at Lakeside Crossing in Maryland Heights, Mo.
 
Monsanto has signed a five-year agreement to lease all of a 116,000-square-foot build-to-suit class A office building to be constructed for the agricultural biotech giant by Duke Realty on the remaining 8.5-acre parcel at its Lakeside Crossing Business Park in the St. Louis suburb of Maryland Heights, Mo.
 
The deal will nearly double the presence of Monsanto at Lakeside Crossing, where it now occupies 127,778 square feet at the business park’s Office One. The new building is scheduled for completion by December 2009. Whitaker Varley, Duke’s vice president of leasing, represented Duke in Monsanto's new lease deal.
 
Monsanto’s deal brings to full occupancy the 14-building, 100-acre Lakeside Crossing, a $55 million complex consisting of 916,551 square feet of office, service and warehouse space.
 

 
Financing Freeze, Growing Tenants Cloud Expansion Plans for Gateway Park in Worcester, Mass.
 
Gateway Park — a technology park in Worcester, Mass., being co-developed by Worcester Polytechnic Institute and the public-private Worcester Business Development Corp. — faces a pair of obstacles on its path toward expansion, the newspaper Mass High Tech reported last week.
 
The tech park, whose tenants include life-sci employers, is seeking financing to begin construction on two permitted buildings totaling 200,000 square feet, and comprising Gateway Park’s second and third buildings. But with credit markets now all but frozen due to the economic upheaval, Gateway Park cannot secure the financing needed to break ground.
 
Without the additional space, Gateway Park cannot accommodate tenants growing out of their existing spaces — let alone 20 prospective tenants, two of them anchors, seeking space in central Massachusetts, Gateway vice president for business development D’Anne Hurd told the newspaper. Talks with the anchors have chilled, she said, as the economy has brought down “asking” rents quoted by landlords of other lab space sites, blunting Gateway Park’s cost advantage.
 
While tenant demand has grown, the requirements for construction financing have tightened, she added; lenders seeking tenant commitments for 70 percent to 80 percent of the new space, versus the 50 percent benchmark that has been traditional since the early 1990s recession.
 
To get construction going, Gateway has begun seeking an anchor tenant from outside the science or technology spheres, Roberta Brien, senior project manager with WBDC, told the newspaper.

Among companies watching the situation closely is Blue Sky Biotech, Gateway Park’s second-largest tenant with 7,500 square feet. The company projects it will need to double its current space to 15,000 square feet by 2010, and double that amount to 30,000 square feet by 2014, based on recent annual growth of 30 to 60 percent, founder and CEO Paul Wengender told Mass High Tech.

 

 
Biotech Company Cerexa Relocating from Alameda, Calif., to Oakland
 
Cerexa, a biotechnology company focused on development of anti-infective therapies, has inked a 38,000-square-lease with CIM Group of Los Angeles to take the top two floors of the 10-story, 215,000-square-foot 2100 Franklin St. in Oakland, according to the San Francisco Business Times. 
 
Cerexa will move from Alameda to the building, one of five buildings CIM acquired from Brandywine Realty Trust last summer for $412.5 million. The company’s new space has sat empty for more than a year.
 
2100 Franklin St. is certified as meeting the gold standard of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system of the US Green Building Council.
 

 
Yourway Transport Relocates To Larger Quarters Within Allentown, Pa.
 
Yourway Transport, a provider of transportation for special handling needs in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical/healthcare industries, said on Dec. 5 it has relocated within Allentown, Pa., to a larger 20,000 square-foot facility at 7346 Penn Drive.
 
The company transports medicines, blood specimens, cryogenic shipments, food, machinery, and human organs, among other sensitive materials.
 

 
University of Kansas Medical Center to House R&D for Nebraska Drug Company
 
BioTarget, a Nebraska-based drug company specializing in cancer treatments, will lease 1,100 square feet on the University of Kansas Medical Center campus for a new research and development facility projected to create 13 new jobs and generate $1 million in capital investment, the Kansas Department of Commerce announced last week.
 
The facility is scheduled to open in spring 2009, with the 13 new employees to be phased in over three years.
 
BioTarget’s 1,100-square-foot facility will be housed in the Kansas City Biotechnology Development Center, a life-sci incubator owned and operated by KUMC. The drug company will partner with KUMC for in vivo diagnostic preclinical studies of encapsulated biomaterials to identify and characterize cancer biomarkers for in vitro diagnostic applications.
 
BioTarget was formed to commercialize an advanced innovation in biomaterial encapsulation technology. The company will work primarily with the University of Kansas Cancer Center’s Office of Therapeutics, Discovery and Development on these studies.
 
The Kansas commerce department said in a press release it joined with KUMC and the Kansas Bioscience Authority to give BioTarget an unspecified “combination of financial and technical assistance for the project.” The Wyandotte Economic Development Council and Kansas City Area Development Council provided additional technical support.
 
“Cancer is the number one priority at the University of Kansas, and the work that BioTarget is doing is in line with our efforts to achieve National Cancer Institute designation as a Cancer Center,” Paul Terranova, vice chancellor for research at KUMC, said in a statement.
 

 
With New CEO, WIL Research Labs Plans Another Expansion to Ashland, Ohio, Campus
 
WIL Research Laboratories, a non-clinical contract research organization, has begun planning for a 10,000-square-foot addition to its Ashland, Ohio, flagship campus on George Road, the company’s new president and chief operating officer told the Ashland (Ohio) Times-Gazette last week.
 
Marc Nemec said the new space would be built in addition to a previously announced expansion now under review by the city — the addition of 80,000 square feet to the north side of WIL’s laboratory facility, which the company hopes to complete by August 2009. WIL employs more than 700 people, making it one of Ashland’s largest employers.
 
"We always have an eye on expansion," Nemec told the Times-Gazette.
 
Nemec recently became WIL’s president, succeeding Joseph Holson, who has retired. Nemec was previously director of developmental and reproductive toxicology, and has served as a director for 13 of his 26 years at WIL’s Ashland facility.
 
WIL Research serves the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, chemical, agricultural, veterinary, and food and consumer products industries.
 

 
BIND Biosciences, Peptimmune, AVEO Sublease Cambridge, Mass., Space from Alkermes
 
Three life sciences companies have subleased portions of space from Alkermes at 64 Sidney St., within University Park at MIT in Cambridge, Mass., over the past five weeks, according to Colliers Meredith & Grew, which represented Alkermes in all three deals.
 
In the latest lease, announced last week, BIND Biosciences has subleased 26,148 square feet. BIND is a biopharmaceutical company developing a new class of targeted therapeutics based on multifunctional nanoparticles.
 
That deal, announced Dec. 2, surfaced less than two weeks after Peptimmune subleased 13,596 square feet. And last month, Alkermes subleased a 7,407-square-foot portion of space at 64 Sidney to AVEO Pharmaceuticals.
 
Colliers Meredith & Grew professionals Joseph Flaherty, Tucker Hansen, and Ben Coffin represented Alkermes in all three deals, as well as Peptimmune in that lease transaction. Jon Varholak and Eric Smith of Richard Barry Joyce & Partners represented BIND Biosciences and AVEO.
 
The deals address about one-third of the 145,000 square feet that Alkermes placed for sublease during the first half of 2008 [BRN, Sept. 22]. Alkermes has been shedding space for much of this year, following the decision by partner Eli Lilly to terminate its AIR inhaled insulin program; in March it closed an AIR manufacturing facility in nearby Chelsea, Mass., and reduced its workforce by 150 people [BRN, March 24].
 

 
Jones Lang LaSalle to Market Mann Research Center in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
 
Commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle has been selected to market the Mann Research Center — a $100 million, 22-acre complex to consist of six buildings totaling 400,000 square feet — within the 150-acre Florida Center for Innovation, a section of the Tradition mixed-use master planned community being developed in Port St. Lucie, Fla. by Core Communities.
 
The Mann Research Center includes three three-story and two two-story research and development buildings, all totaling 290,000 square feet — as well as a single-story retail facility of about 10,000 square feet, and a four-story medical office building of about 100,000 square feet, according to a JLL marketing brochure available here.

The center is a venture of pioneer biomedical entrepreneur-philanthropist Alfred Mann, and will rise near the 100,000-square-foot headquarters of the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, set to open later this month.
 
JLL’s Tom Robertson and Jim Lindval will spearhead the marketing efforts, while the firm’s John Paccione will oversee project management. "We’ve received interest from several prospective tenants and expect more interest as the development process advances,” Robertson said in a Dec. 3 news item announcing JLL’s selection, posted on the news web site of real estate research firm Costar Group.
 

 
US Dept. of Energy Dedicates $135M Joint BioEnergy Institute in Emeryville, Calif.
 
A $135 million Joint BioEnergy Center in Emeryville, Calif. — charged with a five-year mission to develop the next generation of biofuels from plants — was dedicated Dec. 2 in a ceremony headed by US Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman.
 
JBEI is a partnership led by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and including Sandia National Laboratories, the University of California campuses of Berkeley and Davis, the Carnegie Institution for Science, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
 
Located at 5885 Hollis St., JBEI is one of three new “bioenergy research centers” created by the energy department at a total cost of $375 million.

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people 65 and older or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.