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Oxford Enters North Carolina Life Sciences Market With $160M Campus Acquisition

Oxford Properties spent $158.6M to acquire two sites, including Research Commons, pictured above, for a future life sciences campus in the Research Triangle.

Oxford Properties has entered the North Carolina life sciences market with a boom.

The Canadian pension fund-backed developer is paying $158.6M to acquire two properties where it plans to develop a 940K SF research and manufacturing campus in Durham.

The purchase of two parcels, Research Commons and 78 TW Alexander Drive, and the firm's long-term vision, underscore the sky-high demand for lab and biomanufacturing sites and the growing strength of the Research Triangle in attracting such firms and facilities. 

“This ecosystem of facilities will offer solutions for customers at all stages of their life cycle by providing institutional grade infrastructure, service, and atmosphere that attracts the best and brightest talent then helps them to focus their efforts on bringing life-changing therapeutics to market,” Oxford Properties Executive Vice President, North America Chad Remis said in a statement. 

At the five-building, 430K SF Research Commons campus, Oxford plans to develop two new life sciences buildings on 18 acres of undeveloped land, and convert two existing buildings into pure-play life sciences properties as leases burn off. At 78 TW Alexander Drive, Oxford plans to acquire a 96K SF cell and gene therapy manufacturing facility to be developed on a 14.5-acre plot.

Reminiscent of the Center for Breakthrough Medicines outside of Philadelphia, another development that combines advanced manufacturing and research space, the acquisition and vision underscore the demand for manufacturing facilities and the increased value a new generation of cell-and-gene therapy startups place on being close to such sites. Biomanufacturing also stands to benefit from significant investment from the Biden administration.

North Carolina has been a nexus for the industry, with billions of dollars of new investment announced this year alone from firms such as Biogen, Fujifilm, Diosynth, Merck, Pfizer and Thermo Fisher Scientific.

This deal also marks the latest acquisition in Oxford’s 2021 life sciences buying spree. The global real estate firm with $80B in assets has bought 14 properties around the globe in the life sciences space this year, for a total of $3.8B in present and future investment.