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Puget Sound Bioscience-Biotech Booms

Seattle Office

Biotech and biomedical has been big for years in the Puget Sound area, but now it’s billion-dollar big, says the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association (WBBA). The 50-plus Washington life science transactions this year so far—IPOs, acquisitions, and more—have surpassed $1B, up from $725M for all of last year. (Translation: Get a bigger wallet.)


WBBA CEO Chris Rivera, snapped at the 2014 Governor’s Summit and Annual Meeting, with Flinn Ferguson Corporate Real Estate’s Bob Mooney, tells us that since PhysioControl invented the defibrillator in the 1950s, and ATL (now part of Philips Imaging) spun out of the UW and invented ultrasound imaging in the 1960s, the region’s been rife with healthcare innovations. Few realize that bone marrow transplantation, kidney dialysis, and lifesaving drugs like Enbrel were all developed in Seattle. More recently, because of the recession and NIH budget cuts, there’s been a more concerted effort to focus on commercializing the healthcare innovations out of Washington’s leading research centers.


What does it mean for bioscience/biotech space absorption? JLL SVP Daniel Seger, a specialist in the property type, tells us that nationally the Puget Sound is recognized as one of the 10 bioscience/biotech clusters in the US. Within our market, South Lake Union continues to be a highly favored cluster for biotech and biomedical tenants because of its proximity to downtown and other amenities, he says. But with supply there tightening slightly, attention is also being turned to secondary clusters such as Bothell, which offer more cost-effective space in institutional-quality life science properties amid a strong base of existing life science tenants.