Amgen puts its foot down in shiny new South San Francisco hub as it reorganizes R&D ops
Amgen has signed up to be AbbVie’s neighbor in South San Francisco as it moves into a nine-story R&D facility in the booming biotech hub.
The arrangement gives Amgen 240,000 square feet of space on the Gateway of Pacific Campus, just a few minutes drive from its current digs at Oyster Point. The new hub will open in 2022 and house the big biotech’s Bay Area employees working on cardiometabolic, inflammation and oncology research.
Since announcing its decision to pull out of neurosciences Amgen has been consolidating US-based research to South San Francisco and Thousand Oaks, where it’s headquartered. But in addition to the 149 jobs they were axing in Cambridge — where the neuroscience team was largely based — Amgen is also laying off 172 staffers nationwide in an effort to cut operations, R&D and field-based commercial positions.
Flavius Martin, Amgen’s South San Francisco site-head, said the location has been home to “integrating human genetics with core biology and molecular engineering to discover and develop first-in-class therapies.”
“The new location will foster even greater collaboration across our strong scientific team, accelerate the R&D process, and provide a venue for increased engagement with the Bay Area’s abundant scientific and educational communities,” said Martin, who also leads research in oncology and inflammation, in a statement.
After Amgen unveiled the news, its landlord Healthpeak followed up later to report that they are revising the terms of their existing leases at Oyster Point, extending the deal (which was due to expire in two years) to the end of 2029. At the same time, Amgen has also negotiated for a right to terminate their leases early.
AbbVie was the first big name drugmaker to reserve space at the Gateway of Pacific, claiming 480,000 square feet for 10 years to build a central spot for its oncology business close to several of its neighbors, including Calico, CytomX and Alector.
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. Genentech has recently submitted a plan to dramatically expand its storied campus.