Chica­go in­vestor de­vis­es £250M deal as re­al es­tate grows with UK's biotech sec­tor

Hav­ing snapped up a cov­et­ed spot at Kendall Square in Cam­bridge, MA for a re­port­ed $1 bil­lion last year, Chica­go-based re­al es­tate in­vestor Har­ri­son Street is eye­ing sev­er­al life sci­ences prop­er­ties in the UK.

Christo­pher Mer­rill

Har­ri­son Street is part­ner­ing with Lon­don’s Trin­i­ty In­vest­ment Man­age­ment for the £250 mil­lion ($328 mil­lion) deal, which would give them joint own­er­ship of 1.6 mil­lion square feet of lab and of­fice space, mak­ing them land­lords of life sci­ences com­pa­nies such as GW Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, the Fi­nan­cial Times re­port­ed.

The five prop­er­ties span Kent, Col­worth, Man­ches­ter, New­cas­tle and Ed­in­burgh.

Christo­pher Mer­rill, co-founder and CEO of Har­ri­son Street, told the FT he sees “un­be­liev­able growth” in the life sci­ences in­dus­try and, by ex­ten­sion, the re­al es­tate it oc­cu­pies.

Robert Math­ias

“De­spite be­ing the sec­ond most ad­vanced life sci­ences and in­no­va­tion mar­ket in the world, the re­al es­tate mar­ket in the UK is vast­ly un­de­vel­oped,” Rob Math­ias, Mer­rill’s se­nior man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and head of in­ter­na­tion­al busi­ness for Har­ri­son Street, told IPE Re­al Es­tate. “How­ev­er, the sec­tor ex­hibits strong fun­da­men­tals such as a high­ly ed­u­cat­ed tal­ent pool, rapid growth and sub­stan­tial pub­lic and pri­vate in­vest­ment.”

Oth­er US in­vestors look­ing to cap­i­tal­ize on the grow­ing UK life sci­ences re­al es­tate in­clude Bio­Med Re­al­ty, which owns sites at the Babra­ham Re­search Cam­pus, and Cre­ative Sci­ence Prop­er­ties.

Trin­i­ty op­er­ates a net­work of sci­ence parks around the UK they call Knowl­edge Fac­to­ry, of­fer­ing col­lab­o­ra­tive spaces, small-scale man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties as well as dis­tri­b­u­tion and stor­age to ten­ants.

Team­ing up with Har­ri­son Street adds both sec­tor ex­pe­ri­ence and cap­i­tal, the com­pa­ny said — and there are plans to ac­quire more lo­ca­tions.

They bought the £250 mil­lion port­fo­lio from hedge fund An­ge­lo Gor­don, ac­cord­ing to the FT.

With $25 bil­lion in as­sets and a track record in stu­dent dorms and se­nior hous­ing in ad­di­tion to med­ical of­fices, Har­ri­son Street re­cent­ly wad­ed deep­er in­to the biotech pool by ac­quir­ing Os­born Tri­an­gle on the edge of the MIT cam­pus. The three build­ings in the com­plex hous­es sev­en ten­ants, in­clud­ing Pfiz­er, No­var­tis and Lab­Cen­tral — an in­cu­ba­tor that then sub­leas­es to its own crop of biotech star­tups.

So­cial im­age: Kent Sci­ence Park. Trin­i­ty

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As the world becomes increasingly dependant on Asia for the ingredients of its medicines, Sanofi sees business to be done in Europe.

The French drugmaker said it’s creating the world’s second largest active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) manufacturer by spinning out its six current sites into a standalone company: Brindisi (Italy), Frankfurt Chemistry (Germany), Haverhill (UK), St Aubin les Elbeuf (France), Újpest (Hungary) and Vertolaye (France). They have mapped out €1 billion in expected sales by 2022 and 3,100 employees for the new operations headquartered in France.

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South San Francisco-based NGM Bio may have underwhelmed with its interim analysis of a key cohort from a mid-stage NASH study last fall — but stellar topline data unveiled on Monday showed the compound induced significant signs of antifibrotic activity, NASH resolution and liver fat reduction, sending the company’s stock soaring.

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Mickey Kertesz, KidsandArtOrg via YouTube

Soft­Bank's newest, $165M biotech in­vest­ment looks for in­fec­tious traces in the blood

SoftBank has found its newest biotech investment.

The Japanese bank has invested $165 million into Karius, a company that uses blood tests to diagnose infectious diseases, as part of its new Vision Fund 2. The full scope of the new fund has yet to be announced, but the first and newly-beleaguered Vision Fund poured $100 billion into technology companies, including the biotechs Vir Biotechnology and Roivant and the sequencing company 10x Genomics.

Methicillin-resistant Staph aureus (Shutterstock)

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An experimental drug that promises to be the first anti-infective agent to prove superior to vancomycin — an antibiotic approved in 1958 — has notched the FDA’s “breakthrough” status.

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Zhong Nanshan, CGTN via YouTube

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Now a new and well-funded collaboration between Harvard and a top Chinese research institute will play the long game. In a 5-year, $115 million initiative backed by China Evergrande Group, researchers from the Harvard Medical School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Guangzhou Institute for Respiratory Health will study the virus in an effort to develop therapies against infections by the novel coronavirus, known as SARS–CoV-2, and to prevent new ones.

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Juergen Horn

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As the coronavirus originating out of Wuhan spreads to South Korea, Italy and Iran, stoking already intense fears of a pandemic, GlaxoSmithKline has found another pair of trusted hands to place its adjuvant system. China’s Clover Biopharmaceuticals will add the adjuvant to its preclinical, protein-based vaccine candidate against SARS-CoV-2.

Clover, which is based in the inland city of Chengdu, boasts of a platform dubbed Trimer-Tag that produces covalently-trimerized fusion proteins. Its candidate, COVID-19 S-Trimer, resembles the viral spike (S)-protein found in the virus.