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Biotech Business Complex Slated for Colorado

38th Street in Boulder, CO

38th Street in Boulder, Colorado (Newmark, Breakthrough Properties)

12 Aug. 2022. A developer backed by a life science/real estate joint venture announced plans to create a new campus for biotechnology and related businesses in Boulder, Colorado. Breakthrough Properties, based in Los Angeles, says its Boulder 38 complex seeks to take advantage of the growing life science and biomedical engineering hub driven by research at University of Colorado, also in Boulder.

Breakthrough Properties says Boulder 38 — the name refers to its location in downtown Boulder on 38th Street — will support companies spun-off from university research labs and situated in Boulder to hire from the regional talent pool. In addition, says the company, the Boulder 38 site is only about one mile from the university’s biotechnology building, housing its academic departments in biochemistry, bio- and chemical engineering, and Biofrontiers Institute, an interdisciplinary biomedical science center with researchers from the life sciences, physical sciences, computer science, and engineering.

A report from commercial real estate market research company CBRE, cited by Breakthrough Properties, notes the life sciences market in Boulder has maintained more than 1 million square feet of active work space over the past 18 months. An example, reported by Science & Enterprise in May 2021, is the company CordenPharma producing plant-based lipid nanoscale particles to deliver messenger RNA for vaccines and therapeutics. CordenPharma says it’s expanding the company’s lipid nanoparticle manufacturing facility in Boulder to reduce delivery times for Covid-19 and other vaccines.

“Intense and growing demand for high quality lab and office environments”

Breakthrough Properties is acquiring the 9.3 acre site now with four buildings for the Boulder 38 project. The campus, says the company, will provide 164,000 square feet of lab, office, and flex space that’s readily configured into warehouse or offices, often with much shorter lease terms than conventional commercial real estate. Daniel D’Orazi, executive vice-president, says in a company statement that Breakthrough Properties aims to offer “best-in-class infrastructure and amenities to meet the intense and growing demand for high quality lab and office environments in this supply-constrained market.”

Breakthrough Properties is a three year-old joint venture of commercial real estate developer and investor Tishman Speyer and biotechnology investor Bellco Capital. Boulder 38, says Breakthrough Properties, is funded by its $3 billion life science property fund. The company says it has other life science campus projects as a lead or co-investor in Boston, San Diego, and Philadelphia in the U.S., and Oxford and Cambridge in the U.K.

Bellco Capital, one of the Breakthrough Properties partners, was co-founded by Arie Belldegrun, a cancer specialist at UCLA and entrepreneur, who in 2009 started Kite Pharma, a pioneer in cancer immunotherapies using engineered T-cells with chimeric antigen receptors, or CAR T-cells. In 2017, Gilead Sciences acquired Kite Pharma for nearly $12 billion. Since that acquisition, Belldegrun started Allogen Therapeutics, a developer of off-the-shelf CAR T-cell therapies, and then turned also to venture investing through Bellco Capital.

An incentive for further regional technology hub development is the CHIPS and Science Act, signed by President Biden this week. That bill authorizes $10 billion over five years to create 20 regional technology and innovation hubs outside of the current top U.S. tech centers such as San Francisco/Silicon Valley, Boston, and New York. An analysis by Brookings Institution notes that provision in the bill “will focus major investment surges toward up-and-coming tech ecosystems in order to expand U.S. innovation capacity, accelerate technology development, and support job creation.”

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