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Biotech Firm To Build New Corporate HQ, Manufacturing Facility Along Route 128

A rendering of the project at 25 Network Drive in Burlington, where Veritas signed on for lab, manufacturing and office space.

A publicly traded biotech company that moved from Michigan to Cambridge in 2014 is now shifting its headquarters to Burlington

Vericel signed a 125K SF lease for a build-to-suit project featuring manufacturing, lab and office space in the Network Drive at Northwest Park campus, where it plans to move its corporate headquarters, the firm announced Wednesday. 

The 158-acre campus, sitting just off Middlesex Turnpike near Burlington Mall, is owned by Nordblom Co. It currently features 1.1M SF of development, according to Nordblom's website, with at least 10 tenants including Oracle, Avid Technology and Citrix Systems. 

The new facility would more than double Vericel's manufacturing capacity for its cell therapy products. Vericel, which works on therapies in the sports medicine and severe burn care fields, said the facility will support the long-term growth of two products called MACI and Epicel.

The latest phase is expected to break ground this quarter and deliver in 2024, with Vericel starting commercial manufacturing at the facility in 2025. 

The biotech company, previously called Aastrom Biosciences, renamed itself Vericel in 2014 when it moved its headquarters from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Cambridge. The company trades on the Nasdaq as VCEL and has a market cap of over $1.5B.

It will now shift its headquarters from BioMed Realty's 64 Sidney St. in Cambridge, the epicenter of the life sciences industry, to the growing suburban Route 128 submarket. 

“We expect to sustain our strong long-term revenue growth for many years given our highly innovative products, significant barriers to entry and large underpenetrated markets,” Vericel CEO Nick Colangelo said in a release. “This important manufacturing expansion plan represents another major milestone for the Company and demonstrates our confidence in the continued growth trajectory of MACI and Epicel in the years ahead."

CBRE represented Vericel in the deal, and Newmark represented Nordblom. The developer sees this deal as further validation of the growing biotech market in Burlington, Nordblom Senior Vice President Todd Fremont-Smith said in a release. 

"This is an important transaction and is further proof that the Burlington life science cluster continues to evolve and expand," Fremont-Smith said. “We look forward to continuing to create capacity for the growing Life Sciences companies that are bringing innovative solutions to issues that impact our society.”