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Wistar Signs 10-Year Lease At 3.0 University Place


Wistar Institute, a nonprofit medical research organization, announced Wednesday it had signed a 10-year lease for 8K SF on the third floor of University Place Associates’ 3.0 University Place at 4101 Market St. in Philadelphia’s University City neighborhood.

Terms of the transaction, which has options for additional space, were not disclosed.

3.0 University Place will provide 250K SF of lab and office space, targeting biomedical research and advanced life sciences companies, particularly startups, in areas such as gene and cell therapy. The building is offering 2,500 SF “spin-out” pods that come pre-equipped with a biotech starter kit. Smaller lab/office spaces will be available. It will also feature a 30K SF incubator that will be operated by Ben Franklin Technology Partners

“Our collaboration will enable the co-creation of a community of scientists that will go far beyond the walls of a new building,” Wistar CEO Dario Altieri said in a press release. “Connecting some of the world’s finest scientific investigators and academic and industry partners will accelerate biomedical research advances.”

Demand for lab and office space by the city’s burgeoning life sciences sector is outstripping supply for years, according to a 2019 report from the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. Developers cite high development costs and a lack of anchor tenants as the reasons for the shortfall.  

Acquisitions by major pharmaceutical companies, such as Roche’s $4.8B purchase of Philadelphia-based Spark Therapeutics, will allow companies to expand their commercial reach. Philadelphia institutions received $1B in grants from the National Institutes of Health in 2018. Investments from venture capital firms into Philadelphia life sciences firms reached a record high in 2019.

“Companies are making difficult decisions, such as delaying expansion or separating lab and office functions, to remain in UCity as they await new space,” the report says. “Companies outside the region are similarly frustrated with the shortage of options near UCity’s research institutions and talent pool.”