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Boston Properties Signs Pharma Giant To 570K SF Build-To-Suit In Kendall Square

Biopharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca is planning a major new lab project in the epicenter of the life sciences industry: Kendall Square

A rendering of the AstraZeneca R&D facility at 290 Binney St. in Kendall Square.

The Cambridge, UK-based company is partnering with Boston Properties to build a new facility with over 570K SF of research and development and commercial space in Cambridge, Massachusetts, AstraZeneca announced Friday.

The project will be located at 290 Binney St., according to an AstraZeneca spokesperson. It will be part of a mixed-use development Boston Properties revealed earlier this month that is slated to include a 38-story residential tower and two 16-story lab and office buildings, the Boston Globe reported.

AstraZeneca plans to bring 1,500 employees to the new facility when it opens in 2026. It plans to move employees from a research center in Waltham and from the Seaport headquarters of AstraZeneca subsidiary Alexion, the Globe reported. A spokesperson confirmed to Bisnow that those facilities will close after the Kendall Square tower opens. 

Alexion relocated its headquarters to the Seaport in 2018 from New Haven, Connecticut, after leasing 151K SF from Skanska the prior year at 121 Seaport. Skanska later sold that building for $455M to a joint venture of American Realty Advisors and Norges Bank Real Estate Management

Alexion was acquired by AstraZeneca last year for $39B. The company still maintains a biotech facility in New Haven and is expanding its presence there. AstraZeneca's Waltham facility at 35 Gatehouse Drive opened in 2015 and houses around 500 researchers.

The Boston-area lab market is by far the largest in the country, and East Cambridge is its largest submarket with 14.8M SF of inventory as of last quarter, according to CBRE. Companies like AstraZeneca that need large blocks of space have few options other than to commit to new developments that will take years to complete — Cambridge's vacancy rate was 0.5% last quarter.

“Kendall Square, Cambridge, is at the heart of the life sciences and innovation hub of the greater Boston area, and our new site will put us right at the centre of this space," AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said in a release. "The move will provide access to some of the most innovative partners in academia and biotech, offering opportunities to accelerate our growth and collaborate with like-minded organisations as we continue to push the boundaries of science to deliver advances for patients.”