Pharma, R&D

AbbVie hatches plans for a major new R&D hub close to its partners in Bay Area’s buzzy Oyster Point

AbbVie has signed on to be the first tenant of a massive new research center in Oyster Point, joining a flock of biopharma peers that’s set up shop in the increasingly popular South San Francisco neighborhood.

The North Chicago, IL-based drugmaker — whose Stemcentryx subsidiary has an operation in the area — is leasing almost 480,000 square feet in the Gateway of Pacific, a 1.4 million square foot campus under construction by BioMed Realty. Inking a deal for 10 years, AbbVie will occupy a 12-story tower in a space that could eventually hold 1,500 workers, the San Francisco Business Times reported.

The new facility will “represent a Bay Area hub for AbbVie’s oncology business,” which is currently spread between three distinct locations in the region, AbbVie spokesperson Ilke Limoncu tells Endpoints News.

“This future facility will also further strengthen our presence in the Bay Area and bring together our current three sites to improve collaboration and help us grow AbbVie’s oncology science, research, innovation and patient care ambitions,” he writes in an email.

The new location would make AbbVie a neighbor of Genentech’s Gateway campus, while placing it just 10 minutes away from multiple partners at Calico, CytomX and Alector.

When AbbVie and Calico renewed their monster discovery deal in June, each committing $500 million more to their alliance, the Google-backed anti-aging biotech made the unusual move to announce that it’s built a team of 150-plus around an HQ base in South San Francisco, with plans to add more.

Big names and fledgling biotechs alike have taken a liking to the R&D hub in San Francisco, with Oyster Point in particular buzzing with new occupants. Sangamo unveiled plans to build a new HQ right on a marina late last year, while AstraZeneca is bringing staffers from various biotechs it acquired together at its Cove at Oyster Point site.

“The core of AbbVie’s initiative is focused on the talent, innovation and culture in the Bay Area,” Dino Perazzo, a representative of Abbvie from real estate brokerage CBRE’s life science practice, told the San Francisco Business Times. “Theirs is the first of what will likely be many pharma initiatives coming to the Bay Area in the near future.”

While the the first phase of Gateway of Pacific is expected to complete in 2019 — with 431,000 square feet in phase II space to come later — AbbVie won’t begin to move in until 2021, when its current California leases expire, Limoncu confirms.


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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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