Spark Therapeutics Signs 63K SF Lease At King Of Prussia's Discovery Labs
Even as it pours gobs of money into its University City home, Spark Therapeutics has added a suburban outpost to its life sciences footprint.
Spark leased 63K SF in the first quarter of the year at The Discovery Labs, a nearly 2M SF life sciences and tech campus in King of Prussia, according to CBRE's quarterly regional life sciences report. The startup was acquired in 2019 for nearly $5B by global pharma giant Roche and remains the only revenue-generating gene therapy company in Philly. Spark did not respond to requests for comment by press time.
With its new lease, Spark now has a footprint in three of the most significant, multiphase life sciences developments in the Philadelphia area. In addition to the Discovery Labs, the company occupies the entirety of the Bulletin Building at 31st and Market streets — the first building of Brandywine Realty Trust's Schuylkill Yards megaproject — and its corporate office is at 3737 Market St. in uCity Square.
On Feb. 28, Spark broke ground on the 500K SF University City biomanufacturing facility it announced in late 2021, Technical.ly reports. The building, expected to deliver in 2026, will rise on what had been a parking lot at 30th and Chestnut streets. The initial budget for the project was $575M, but construction became more expensive and difficult to finance in the interval between announcement and groundbreaking.
Spark, which has not announced whether the huge facility's development will be led internally or by another company, leased the site from Drexel University on a 99-year ground lease. The building is expected to house production for all gene therapies developed by Roche portfolio companies.
Spark's Discovery Labs lease was the largest to be signed in the Philadelphia region in the first quarter, CBRE reports. The second-largest lease was Invisible Sentinel's 32K SF deal at 1201 Normandy Place, Ensemble/Mosaic's first new construction at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Like Spark, Invisible Sentinel is a local startup that was acquired by a European conglomerate — in this case, the French bioMérieux.
The Discovery Labs is owned by MLP Ventures, which has expanded its holdings in the immediate area multiple times over the past few years. The campus' website now says that it can reach 5M SF at full build-out, which would include over 2M SF of build-to-suit space that has yet to be claimed.
Spark also occupies the second floor of the low-slung mixed-use building at 3000 Market St., which Brandywine converted to life sciences space as a build-to-suit project for the company. Spark's manufacturing facility will abut 3000 Market on completion, according to project renderings.