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A Site Selection Web Exclusive, April 2013
WEB Exclusive story

Life Force

Bristol-Myers Squibb's biologics complex in Devens, 45 minutes outside Boston’s city center, will receive a new $250-million, 350-job expansion investment from the company.
Photos courtesy of Bristol-Myers Squibb

Boston's 'supercluster' doesn't miss a beat.

Bristol-Myers Squibb's Devens campus includes complex technology such as this seed reactor.
Bristol-Myers Squibb's Devens campus includes complex technology such as this seed reactor.

oston is still the No. 1 life sciences cluster in the country. A cluster of reports and projects only reinforces the area's leadership, even as the area's leaders do the same in another context.

Six years after it first broke ground on a $750-million biologics manufacturing complex in Devens, Mass., and four days before the Boston Marathon bombings, Bristol-Myers Squibb on April 11 announced it would invest $250 million in constructing two new buildings, and create 350 jobs at the 400-employee, 89-acre (36-hectare) site.

"Biologics are increasingly important in the treatment of serious diseases and are a growing part of our company's pipeline of potential new therapies," said Lou Schmukler, president, global manufacturing & supply. "This initiative is designed to accelerate the development of new biologics medicines through the closer alignment of biologics research and development, and manufacturing."

Bristol-Myers Squibb plans to construct two new buildings on its Devens campus. One will be dedicated to process development, a group that designs processes for early production of investigational biologics medicines. A second building will house clinical manufacturing, where investigational medicines will be produced to support clinical trials. Both represent new capabilities for Devens, a site that in its early years has focused solely on large-scale, bulk biologics manufacturing.

"This project represents a significant expansion in both the size and mission of Devens," said Peter Moesta, senior vice president, biologics manufacturing and process development. "We envision Devens as a center of excellence for the development and manufacture of biologics medicines, optimally organized to support our growing pipeline of investigational medicines and potential new products."

Together, the two buildings will add approximately 200,000 sq. ft. (18,580 sq. m.) of laboratory and office space to the Devens site, which now comprises six major buildings in a 400,000-sq.-ft. (37,160-sq.-m.) complex. Work on the expansion is expected to begin in late 2013 and be completed in 2015. In the interim, Bristol-Myers Squibb has leased 30,000 sq. ft. (2,787 sq. m.) of laboratory space in nearby Hopkinton, Massachusetts, to begin moving some biologics process development functions closer to Devens during construction. The company intends to maintain this space until construction is completed.

History Lays Groundwork for a Future

Construction of the Devens site was completed in 2009. It was Bristol-Myers Squibb's first major facility in Massachusetts and the largest capital investment in its history – $750 million – and helped signal the company's transformation into a next-generation biopharmaceutical company. The Devens site also was designed to accommodate future expansion, says the company, and the decision to expand reflects both the initial success of Devens and some of the factors that first drew Bristol-Myers Squibb to the region. These include the abundance of biotechnology knowledge, education and training in the Boston area, which has created a large and well-qualified work force, as well as the inception of the state's Life Sciences initiative.

In late March, the Boston Foundation released a report showing that the Patrick-Murray Administration's investments in the life sciences sector are making a measurable impact on job creation and spurring economic growth across the Commonwealth. The report, conducted through the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University and authored by Barry Bluestone and Alan Clayton-Matthews, also encourages continued funding of the Life Sciences Initiative, the Administration's 10-year $1 billion investment package in the Life Sciences industries that has helped make Massachusetts a national leader in this growing sector.

"The Life Sciences Initiative is meeting its growth objectives and then some," said Gov. Deval Patrick. "Because we chose to shape the future we wanted, rather than just wait to see what happens, Massachusetts is now the world's leading life sciences supercluster, and we have the jobs and economic opportunity that come with that."

In 2007, Patrick proposed the 10-year, $1-billion Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative. The initiative was passed by the Legislature in 2008, and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) was charged with implementing it. The goal of this initiative has been to make the Commonwealth home to the most vibrant life sciences supercluster in the world, attracting investment dollars, creating well-paying jobs, expanding a technically skilled work force and supporting an energetic landscape for innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Boston Foundation report found that the MLSC has had a measurable impact on job creation through its over $300 million in investments as of June 2012. Over the last 10 years the state's life sciences cluster has created jobs in Massachusetts at a faster pace than any other industry sector in the Commonwealth, and since 2008, Massachusetts has overtaken all competitor states in the rate of life sciences job creation.

Though the MLSC is driving job creation in Massachusetts through several different programs, the research found that the MLSC's investments in start-up companies are "an especially strong draw to Massachusetts for larger companies, which rely on smaller companies to help them access and develop new technologies at a faster rate. The MLSC's role in helping these start-up firms gain traction in Massachusetts has been instrumental in encouraging the larger bioscience companies to locate and create jobs in the Commonwealth."

Building on these targeted investments, Patrick unveiled a budget proposal in January that includes a $1-billion annual investment in the Commonwealth's transportation system and a $550-million investment in education, reaching $1 billion over four years, "to expand access to high quality educational opportunities and make higher education more affordable for all students in Massachusetts."

According to the latest Jones Lang LaSalle Global Life Sciences Cluster report, "with the drive for discovery and innovation causing a rebalancing of operations, the Boston market continues to benefit from global realignment. The discovery process demands efficiency, collaboration and intellectual prowess. Boston is the elite provider creating that element of connectivity and is fueled by top-notch universities, innovation centers, research hospitals, venture capital firms and, most importantly, a strong labor force."

Some supporting evidence:

The Boston MSA features more than 74,000 employees within the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device subsectors of the industry, trailing only San Diego on a percent of total workforce basis.

Massachusetts is home to five of the top eight National Institute of Health-funded hospitals in the United States, which act as global leaders in biotechnology research. "The top five NIH-funded universities (Harvard, University of Massachusetts, Boston University, MIT, and Tufts) anchor this cluster and offer advanced degrees in biosciences, fuel employment in the industry and add great depth to the development of innovative products," says Jones Lang LaSalle.

The leading market of Cambridge boast over 7 million sq. ft. (650,300 sq. m.) of lab space within a 1.5-mile radius of the Kendall Square MBTA Station. The JLL report said East Cambridge boasts nearly 2 million sq. ft. (185,800 sq. m.) under construction, including the country's only speculative lab development. The remaining square footage is 95-percent pre-leased. JLL also highlighted emerging sub-clusters in the area including the suburbs, the Seaport District (catalyzed by the Vertex deal) and the Longwood Medical and Academic Area (LMA).

The Longwood Medical and Academic Area (LMA) is a 213-acre site comprising 18.1 million sq. ft. (1.68 million sq. m.) where all buildings are institutionally owned with the exception of only two properties: BioMed Realty Trust's Center for Life Sciences at 3 Blackfan Circle (703,000 sq. ft. or 65,309 sq. m.) and Merck's Longwood Research Facility.

"Since Merck owns and occupies this building, it is truly only the Center for Life Sciences that constitutes the commercial leasable market," says Jones Lang LaSalle. "To meet the growing demand for leasable lab space, National Development and Alexandria Real Estate Equities are constructing a 413,000-sq.-ft. (38,368-sq.-m.) research and development building at Longwood Center." Dana Farber signed on as the anchor tenant, leasing more than a third of the space.

Other projects in LMA include Brigham and Women's Hospital's 358,000-sq.-ft. (33,258-sq.-m.) expansion on the former Mass Mental Health Center site and plans for two buildings totaling 885,000 sq. ft. (82,217 sq. m.) from Children's Hospital.

Checklists and Punch Lists

There may be no better measure of the sector's continuing robustness than the activity involving commercial real estate advisory firm Richards Barry Joyce & Partners. Among its latest deals, on April 4 the firm announced it had advised the Center for Medical Simulation (CMS) in a new headquarters lease for 13,037 sq. ft. (1,211 sq. m.) at 100 1st Avenue, Navy Yard Plaza, Building 39 (Boston, Mass.), in the historic Charlestown Navy Yard, also known as the Carriage House.


CMS was founded in 1993 and is an international leader in the still emerging field of healthcare simulation. At its new facility in the Charlestown Navy Yard area, CMS creates high-fidelity scenarios that simulate genuine crisis management situations, designed to give healthcare providers a new and enlightening perspective on how to handle challenging medical situations and improve their teamwork in all situations.
Photo courtesy of Richards Barry Joyce & Partners

"Our workspace is an essential component to enabling us to create the realistic conditions required for healthcare simulation," said Jeffrey B. Cooper, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Medical Simulation and Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School. "We could not be more pleased with our new location. The Richards Barry Joyce & Partners team was outstanding in helping is find space that met our unusual requirements and financial constraints."

The firm works with hospitals nationwide on teamwork in crisis situations, among other topics, and has worked over the years with some of the 26 institutions that treated victims of the April 15 bombings on Boylston St. In fact, the Simulation, Training, Research, and Technology Utilization System (STRATUS) Center for Medical Simulation recently expanded at Brigham and Women's Hospital, a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. The center was crucial to recently published research showing that surgical teams using checklists were 74 percent less likely to miss key life-saving steps in care during emergency situations than those working from memory alone.


MetroWest Place in Framingham, formerly occupied by Genzyme, is on the road to repositioning by Normandy Real Estate Partners.
Photo courtesy of Richards Barry Joyce & Partners

"CMS provides a vital service to the healthcare community and we enjoyed working closely with them on their new headquarters," said Bob Richards, president, Richards Barry Joyce & Partners, earlier this spring. "What made this project so interesting wasn't its size or the prominence of the location but rather how closely intertwined the space is with the organization's mission."

RBJ&P on April 18 announced another deal in Framingham, where its Capital Markets team represented CRCP Pleasant Street, LLC in the sale of MetroWest Place to Normandy Real Estate Partners for $5.5 million. Formerly occupied by Genzyme, the 95,000-sq.-ft. (8,825-sq.-m.) Class A office facility is slated for a major renovation, expansion and repositioning by Normandy.

Among other 2012 projects highlighted in the Jones Lang LaSalle report:

  • Ironwood Pharmaceuticals signed an amendment to its lease at 301 Binney Street. Due to this lease extension and phased expansion, Ironwood will now occupy a total of 303,000 sq. ft. (28,149 sq. m.).
  • The Davis Co. bought the mixed-use 207,000-sq.-ft. (19,230-sq.-m.) Fresh Pond Research Park portfolio from Spaulding & Slye Investments. It sold for $38.4 million, and represents a development opportunity for lab space in West Cambridge.
  • Forma Therapeutics relocated to 45,000 sq. ft. (4,181 sq. m.) at 500 Arsenal Street in Watertown, where Boston Biomedical Research Institute is looking to sell its 59,925-sq.-ft. (5,567-sq.-m.) research facility as a potential leaseback, and where Dynasil, already located in the area, was recently seeking approximately 50,000 sq. ft. (4,645 sq. m.), "half of which will be devoted to R&D and products manufacturing and the other half to office."
  • Dyax signed a 45,000-sq.-ft. (4,181-sq.-m.) lease at 55 Network Drive in Burlington, "which should help connect this city to the Lexington / Bedford life sciences market."
  • 1366 Technologies, a manufacturing solutions company, signed a 41,000-sq.-ft. (3,809-sq. m.) lease in Bedford, relocating and expanding from Lexington.
  • Entegris purchased the 80,000-sq.-ft. (7,432-sq.-m.) Bedford building from Duffy Properties for $7.1 million, or $89 per sq. ft. The company plans to convert the flex property to lab space.
The recent Global Life Sciences Cluster report from Jones Lang LaSalle used the scores above to rank the top U.S. clusters, led once again by Boston. For more coverage, watch for the Life Science Centers feature in the May print issue of Site Selection. In case you missed it, here's the magazine's recent feature on biopharma industry trends.
Image courtesy of Jones Lang LaSalle

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