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$258M San Diego Life Sciences Deal Sees Capital Clamoring After Campus

The 18-acre Ionis Pharmaceuticals’ campus in San Diego

Ionis Pharmaceuticals sold its San Diego headquarters to Oxford Properties for $258M, providing an infusion of cash to the RNA-based therapeutics company.

Ionis will lease back the property at 2850, 2855 and 2859 Gazelle Court in north San Diego from Oxford for 15 years and committed to a 165K SF build-to-suit project across the street, set to open in 2025.

CBRE arranged the sale-leaseback arrangement of the 246K SF, 18-acre campus, in Oxford Properties' second investment in the San Diego market.

Ionis Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Elizabeth L. Hougen said the deal will provide the firm with significant cash proceeds to scale and invest in growth initiatives.

The property, which contains a full-sized basketball court and vehicle charging space in addition to research and development facilities, was originally developed in 2011 as a build-to-suit headquarters for Ionis. 

San Diego’s life sciences market consists of roughly 22.3M SF, per CBRE, and has seen “exponential growth” over the last three years.

Low availability of lab and research space in San Diego and beyond has pushed up rental rates, making the properties attractive investment targets, even in a challenging market where capital costs continue to rise.