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Missouri Development Finance Board, Neurocrine Biosciences Campus, Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, Maryland Technology Development Corporation, Metrowest Technology Park

Wexford Starts Work on New Wet Lab-Office Building at Danforth Center
Wexford Science+Technology said last week it will start construction of a new $36.1 million, 118,000-square-foot multi-tenant, post-incubation, wet laboratory and office building that will be the first of three buildings planned for the Bio-Research and Development Growth Park at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in the St. Louis suburb of Creve Coeur, Mo.
The first new building is projected to create more than 390 construction jobs, as well as more than 340 full-time permanent jobs once completed in the summer of 2009. The building fulfills a long-held desire by life science industry leaders and the Nidus Center for Scientific Enterprise — a life sciences incubator based near the Danforth Center campus, across Olive Boulevard from the planned campus at the headquarters of Monsanto — for post-incubator space needed by emerging companies [BioRegion News, Oct. 29].
Robert Calcaterra, who will retire later this year as president of Nidus, told BRN in an interview last fall that his incubator would occupy 17,000 square feet in the new building, to be followed by at least two graduates of Nidus, Divergence and Apath, and possibly biofuel cell developer Akermin once it follows suit. Monsanto and St. Louis Community College have also expressed interest in space at the new building [BioRegion News, Dec. 3].
However, Louis Kiang, vice president with Wexford, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Jan. 16 that the developer had yet to sign any leases, though it is in "serious negotiations" with two anchor tenants plus a smaller third tenant, while the chances of a fourth signing on are "greater than 50 percent," and two more are on the fence.
Once the first building is about 65 percent leased — which will happen if four of the six current prospects sign on — Wexford will begin designing a second facility of at least 90,000 square feet, Kiang told the newspaper.

According to Danforth Center, researchers working in BRDG Park will have direct access to the center’s scientists to discuss research as well as access to the center's greenhouse, growth chambers, microscopy, and proteomics facilities, and other vital scientific equipment at “significantly reduced” costs.
The state of Missouri helped subsidize the construction project through $1 million in tax credits secured by Wexford after it contributed $2 million to the Missouri Development Finance Board, chaired by Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. The board in 1998 approved $25 million in state tax credits toward construction of the Danforth Center's main building.
St. Louis County government has provided the Danforth Center with tax abatements allowed for properties financed through local industrial development bonds under the state’s Chapter 100, while the city of Creve Coeur and the Ladue City School District supported the project’s application for state tax credits.

Veralliance Properties Acquires Neurocrine Biosciences Campus for $109M
Veralliance Properties of San Diego has acquired the Neurocrine Biosciences Campus in Del Mar Heights, Calif., from the San Diego biotech company for $109 million.
The 9.6-acre campus is located at 12780-12790 El Camino Real, near its intersection with Del Mar Heights Road. It includes two, three-story buildings totaling 220,804 square feet in addition to a 4.2-acre parcel that is approved for future development of 93,000 square feet of office space. Veralliance plans to build a Class A, three-story building on the parcel later this year.
As part of the deal, Neurocrine agreed to lease back 12780 El Camino Real from Veralliance for 12 years. Neil Fox and Mike Gerrity of San Diego-based Phase 3 Properties represented both Veralliance, which did business as DMH Campus Investors LLC, and Neurocrine, doing business as Science Park Center LLC.
The office building at 12790 El Camino Real is now available for lease through CB Richard Ellis professionals Chris Pascale, Jerry Keeney, and Mike Hoeck.
Neurocrine has scrambled to cut costs in the month since the US Food and Drug Administration delayed approval of the company’s insomnia drug candidate indiplon for the second time, pending additional data. Neurocrine announced it would cut 130 jobs, leaving it with about 120 employees.
Veralliance’s office and life sciences portfolio now totals more than 2 million square feet of existing and planned space.

Neurotech Pharmaceuticals Builds New Manufacturing Plant in Cumberland, RI

The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation has approved $4 million in bonds for Neurotech Pharmaceuticals, allowing the Lincoln, RI, biopharmaceutical company to complete a $5.6 million expansion into a new 27,000-square-foot manufacturing plant at the Highland Corporate Park in Cumberland.
The RIEDC will enable the company to purchase new equipment, including two modular manufacturing suites, through the bonds, which will be issued through Bank of America by the Rhode Island Industrial Facilities Corporation, and will be guaranteed by the Rhode Island Industrial-Recreational Building Authority.
Neurotech will spend $1.6 million of its own money toward the new manufacturing plant, which is set to begin operation by the second quarter of this year. It will supplant the company’s current facility in Lincoln, where 21 people are employed. In return for the financing, it has promised to expand its workforce in the state to 70 employees.
Neurotech is focused on the development of drugs to treat chronic eye diseases.

TEDCO Awards $1M No Interest Loan to UMB for BioPark BioInnovation Center
The Maryland Technology Development Corporation has approved a 10-year, no interest loan of $1 million to the University of Maryland, Baltimore BioPark toward completion of its BioInnovation Center within UMB BioPark Building Two, 801 West Baltimore St.
The money will come from TEDCO’s capital budget, and has been matched by the developer of Building Two, Wexford Science + Technology.
The BioInnovation Center is set to open in March, allowing early-stage life science companies to rent pre-built wet lab and office spaces at below-market rates through short-term leases. The center consists of 10 lab and five office suites within 8,500 square feet.
UMB BioPark consists of 360,000 square feet in two multitenant buildings and one garage. The university credits the project with creating 200 jobs and $128 million in capital investment. Last October, UMB BioPark was named the best emerging university research park of the year by the Association of University Research Parks.

Stubblebine, Lee Partners Named Exclusive Agents for Maynard, Mass., Office/R&D Park
Chartwell Properties of Hudson, NH, has appointed the Stubblebine Company and Lee Partners the exclusive agents for the landmark Metrowest Technology Park, an office/R&D/office-warehouse “flex” campus at 129 Parker Street in Maynard, Mass.
Available immediately is a 400,000-square-foot building on 24.1 acres. The campus also includes an opportunity to build another 400,000 square feet, doubling the campus to 800,000 square feet. Another 175,000 square feet of new retail space adjacent to the subject property is set to be completed later this year.
The building offers excess telecommunication capacity; a 570-seat, recently renovated cafeteria; more than 1,200 parking spaces; five tailboard docks; two freight elevators; two passenger elevators; and a location bordering a 1,000-foot long pond. Metrowest is located at the intersection of routes 117 and 27, and is near routes 2 and 128, and Interstate 495.
Originally built by Digital Equipment Company, the tech park underwent substantial interior renovations in 2001.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.