Bayer plots a major facelift at Berkeley campus, uncorking a 30-year, $1.2B plan to drive cell and gene therapies
Bayer first set roots in Berkeley back in 1974, when it was still operating as Miles Labs. The site has pumped out three hemophilia A treatments for distribution worldwide; but now, as the pharma continues its cell and gene therapy push, it has something bigger in mind.
Bayer is planning a 30-year revamp at the campus, which includes 918,000 square feet in new buildings and double the jobs, according to a report by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.
By 2052, Bayer expects there to be about 2,000 jobs on site and an added 779,500 square feet of parking while demolishing around 267,000 square feet of existing space. All of that will run a price tag of about $1.2 billion (adjusted for inflation), according to the council.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic and the future prevalence of remote work challenges the ability to make predictions, life sciences companies like Bayer will increasingly need more office, development, laboratory, and manufacturing spaces to operate efficiently,” the report states.
A majority of the new construction will be for production, as well as the majority of new jobs, the council says. Other new jobs will include maintenance and laboratory workers, and administration.
“Bayer, a global biopharmaceutical company, is one of Berkeley’s and the Bay Area’s major economic contributors,” the council states. “With a long-standing presence in Berkeley through its biopharmaceutical center where it develops and manufactures medicines for hemophilia, Bayer creates employment opportunities at all income levels.”
In addition to producing hemophilia A treatments, the Berkeley campus also supports the development of an investigational gene therapy for the blood clotting disorder.
Back in October, Bayer put down up to $4 billion to buy out gene therapy pioneer Asklepios, more commonly referred to as AskBio. And in December, the company announced it would establish a cell and gene therapy platform to consolidate all of its related projects under one umbrella, and allow execs to swing some more deals.
“We need for all our platforms reaching out for other partners looking for specific capabilities where we can augment our [own] capabilities,” head of the new strategy Wolfram Carius told Endpoints News at the time. “One example, of course, is always the capsid design can be improved, and there are approaches with artificial intelligence that can do that even better than today.”