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Biomanufacturing Site Coming To Alexandria's Watertown Campus

The future site of a 40K SF biomanufacturing facility at Alexandria's The Arsenal on the Charles.

The region’s biggest life sciences players have teamed up to deliver a much-needed biomanufacturing facility just miles away from the market’s Kendall Square epicenter.

The Massachusetts Center for Advanced Biological Innovation and Manufacturing, called CABIM, has signed a 40K SF lease at The Arsenal on the Charles in Watertown with Alexandria Real Estate Equities, it announced Thursday. The upcoming biomanufacturing center is backed by $76M in financing in a round led by Harvard University, as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, life sciences companies and area hospitals.

The project addresses the region’s significant shortage of biomanufacturing facilities and speeds up research and development efforts in gene therapies, gene editing, immunotherapy and biotechnology, CABIM said.

“At a time when we face a devastating global pandemic, collaboration between the greatest innovators in the life science community has never felt more important or had more to contribute to knowledge and human health,” Harvard University Provost Alan Garber said.

The center will bring development of modern, complex biologic drugs right into life science investors’ backyards, Alexandria Executive Chairman Joel Marcus said in a statement.

“The complexity of today’s most promising medicines and technologies like gene and cell therapies requires direct, proximate control of the entire supply chain from discovery to manufacturing, as perfectly exemplified by our state-of-the-art Arsenal on the Charles advanced technologies campus, where CABIM will be located,” Marcus said.

CABIM’s Watertown headquarters, a good manufacturing practices site expected to open in early 2022, will house eight cleanrooms and support 40 full-time employees, the organization said. Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, Cytiva and MilliporeSigma and Boston's five major hospitals all participated in funding the project.

Demand for biomanufacturing facilities currently makes up between 20% and 30% of the life sciences market demand, brokers estimate, and the pipeline for the next 18 months, now with CABIM on the way, is light.

CABIM will be a part of Alexandria’s 11-building, $526M life sciences campus it purchased in 2019 from Athenahealth and dubbed The Arsenal on the Charles. Alexandria two months ago also secured a lease for the future 79K SF headquarters for novel therapeutics company Constellation Pharmaceuticals.