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A Site Selection Web Exclusive, February 2011
WEB Exclusive story

Ready for Growth

Astellas Pharma expects to occupy its new headquarters in Glenview, Ill., by the spring of 2012.
Renderings courtesy of Astellas Pharma

A biopharma firm undertakes two major
expansion projects in two major metros.

by JOHN W. McCurry

stellas Pharma U.S., the U.S. arm of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc., has two major construction projects under way in Illinois and California as it consolidates some operations and prepares for future growth.

Astellas Pharma is about at the construction midpoint of its new corporate headquarters for the Americas in Glenview, Ill., a US$150-million project that will consolidate some of the company's Illinois operations. It will also eventually create 150 new jobs, bringing the total headcount at the headquarters to about 1,400. Astellas expects to complete construction in the spring of 2012. The company's current headquarters is in Deerfield, Ill.

"We expect to move in next spring, and everything is on track for that," says Jenny Keeney, an Astellas Pharma spokesperson.

The company is also growing via acquisitions. It acquired OSI Pharmaceuticals in 2010.

Kenney says the company will maintain some of its current research facilities in Skokie, Ill. The new headquarters campus will consist of two six-story buildings totaling 425,000 sq. ft. (39,482 sq. m.). The company says the buildings and site will emphasize sustainability, and the complex is designed to achieve LEED Gold certification. The site has space for a possible future third building, which would expand the complex to 600,000 sq. ft. (55,740 sq. m.) among the three buildings.

The State of Illinois offered Astellas Pharma a $4-million incentive package, administered by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). It consists of Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) corporate income tax credits, which are based on job creation, and Employer Training Investment Program (ETIP) job training.

Astellas Pharma Inc. was formed in 2005 through the merger of two of Japan's largest pharmaceutical manufacturers. In the U.S., Astellas markets products in the areas of anti-infectives, cardiology, dermatology, neuroscience, transplant, and urology.

Acquired, But Staying Put

Astellas Pharma acquired California biotech firm Agensys in 2007. A new research and manufacturing facility is planned for the Santa Monica-based company, which specializes in oncology products. Agensys, which was founded by an oncologist at UCLA in 2007, currently employs 211.

Astellas is investing $90 million in equipment and facilities for the 160,000-sq.-ft. (14,864-sq.-m.) project, according to Keeney. The building will be ready for occupancy by 2013, and employment at the site will reach 300 by 2015, she says.

The transaction included the purchase of the existing ground lease from The Lionstone Group, as well as the extension of the ground lease and the execution of a development agreement with the City of Santa Monica to expand the site's total allowable square footage. The two buildings currently sitting on the site will be demolished.

Agensys was represented by global tenant advisory firm Studley.

"Clearly, Agensys has a significant presence in Santa Monica and is a highly sought after tenant," said Matthew Brainard, corporate managing director in Studley's Los Angeles office. "We proactively and creatively pursued all viable opportunities, including evaluating the entire Westside and South Bay markets, before recommitting to the City of Santa Monica."

Studley also negotiated interim expansion space to accommodate Agensys' growth prior to the project's completion.

The new building, designed by HLW, incorporates sustainable architecture and will be LEED certified. Features include a full commissary, open green area, manufacturing facility, laboratories, clean rooms and corporate offices.

"It's been a challenge to find adequate space in Santa Monica to accommodate this new facility which is essential for our continued growth," said Paul Kanan, executive vice president, finance and operations, for Agensys. "We were founded in Santa Monica 14 years ago, and it is great to be able to stay here and build the special facilities we need for our cancer research and manufacturing of antibody products."

Agensys, the biotech arm of Astellas Pharma, plans a new manufacturing and R&D center in Santa Monica, Calif.

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