Deerfield Management Co. has made bets on more than 100 biotech firms, including many in the Philadelphia area. The New York-based investment company has its eyes set on the financing of 680,000 square feet of gene and cell therapy labs and associated office complexes for the fast-growing Philadelphia biotech market. The location has been identified by King of Prussia-based developer Brian O’Neil—the old SmithKline campus that sits above the Schuylkill river between West Conshohocken and Bridgeport. What could bring this all together for Deerfield? Investors to infuse $1.1 billion into the project not to mention tenants suggest the lead manager of the whole effort: Alex Karnal.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Deerfield, the one of the country’s largest active venture investors, is developing a similar project “on spec” right in New York City at 345 Park Avenue S.—12 stories and 325,000 square feet of costly Big Apple biotech lab and office space. Deerfield is putting up $100 million and they have secured $500 million from Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman and LoanCore Capital from Connecticut.  They are in discussions with prospective tenants lining up include Deerfield itself, Matter (a biotech incubator) not to mention various New York based university and hospital groups. 

How Big would the Demand be for such a Development in Philly?

Probably it is there according to The Philadelphia Inquirer reporting. Some key points:

  • With over 3,000 Philadelphia professionals already working in the gene and cell therapy lab space the sector is hot and growing
  • Biotech CEOs such as Martin Lehr (Context Therapeutics) suggest Deerfield wouldn’t’ be lending its name around if it wasn’t for real
  • China’s rapidly growing WuXi AppTec as 600 professionals alone in the area—they occupy 380,000 square feet at four Navy Yard buildings
  • Tmunity (gene therapy developer) is developing its own factory at the former Tengion plant near Norristown
  • Spark Therapeutics (Roche acquired) is a hot gene-based venture that CHOP invested in is shopping for a gene and cell therapy production facility in the Philly region
  • The developers are exploring this initiative while the University of Pennsylvania is clearing space for future labs at its Pennovation site (Gray’s Ferry Avenue)
  • Drexel University is organizing developers for sites around 30th St. Station 

The intersection of health care real estate and health care science is getting hot in the City of Brotherly Love, which happens to be in the heart of the eastern seaboard pharmaceutical and biotech complex (from DC/Baltimore up to Boston).

Call to ActionTrialSite News will be launching Investor Watch, where we will update viewers/readers on the latest updates, transactions and trends in the financing of clinical research (including infrastructure). We have many investors visiting the site daily and ultimately will bring together those investors with biotech entrepreneurs—a new, streamlined and more efficient investment market must emerge.

Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer

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