Life Science Lab Space and Innovation
We attended the Boston Business Journal’s Biotech event on Aug 11th. We were not surprised to hear them say that Boston is one of the leading clusters for biotech innovation and drug discovery in the country, perhaps the world. For many it is certainly the best place in the world to launch a biotech company. Boston’s biotech growth has been explosive and made out region the epicenter of drug discovery. Moderna and Pfizer certainly solidified this recognition by being the first companies in the world to find a vaccine for COVID-19. Other companies such as Sherlock Bio have also been very innovative in discovering diagnostic and other powerful tools to help in the fight against Covid as well.
What makes this cluster so vibrant and strong is its ecosystem. Big pharma and small startups and their talent along with the proximity to academia, create a synergy one just doesn’t find anywhere else.
Another key element for the dizzying growth is the tremendous funding targeted to the Boston area. With the highest VC funding in the nation, Boston is leading the life science industry and innovation. “Last year, 41% of all biopharma venture capital funding went to Massachusetts-based companies”, according to PwC Money Tree data. And this year VC funding is even stronger than it was in 2020. “Massachusetts-headquartered life sciences companies raised $4.3 billion in venture capital in just the first quarter of this year — nearly three-quarters of the venture capital raised in the entirety of 2020, which was already a record high at $5.8 billion.”(MassBio)
It is great to have such investment in the Greater Boston area, but it also exacerbates pain points that the region is facing, including finding space for biotech workers to perform their work on a daily basis. In its recent industry snapshot, Mass bio has predicted that in the next three years we will see an addition of forty thousand additional biopharma jobs and ultimately need more space and labs space in the Greater Boston Region to accommodate such need.
Science moves quicker these days, and as a result, the need for space moves quicker as well. The Real estate connection to life science is very strong. With biotech companies growing at a rapid pace, the need for lab space keeps soaring in the Boston metro area. It is a real problem now with the supply being very sparse and in very high demand. The competition for space is fierce within areas of the city like Kendall Square which is currently at near zero percent vacancy – and the price per square foot keeps soaring.
We are waiting for more supply to be developed. Massachusetts added five million square feet from 2020 to 2021 and another 20 million square feet should be added by 2024; but will that be enough to sustain this frantic growth? How long can this frenzied pace of growth be maintained?
With the enormous need for space the AEC community must design spaces with flexibility to accommodate for rapid growth. Modern labs must be agile and accommodate future equipment and personnel changes. Life science landlords have done a phenomenal job in designing second-generation space to support their tenant’s rapid growth. These incubators with their plug and play solutions are also part of this ecosystem and are providing space to newly funded companies. But they too, are in high demand and have limited space.
With MassBio’s prediction to add more workers the need for RE and finding lab space will continue. The key for anyone involved in biotech will be to partner with an experienced consultant like Hereva – who understands their needs, the market, and how to bring their projects to fruition. Hereva is here to help you with your projects, contact us today.
MassBio: 40K new Biopharma jobs predicted in the next three years Rowan Walrath BBJ https://www.bizjournals.com/boston/news/2021/08/25/massbio-industry-snapshot-2021.html