Eli Lilly Plans $700M Institute for Genetic Medicine in Boston’s Seaport District

by Taylor Williams

BOSTON — Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. has unveiled plans for a $700 million institute for genetic medicine in Boston’s Seaport District. The opening is slated for 2024.

The company has signed a 334,000-square-foot lease at 15 Necco St., a 12-story healthcare and life sciences building that Alexandria Real Estate Equities (NYSE: ARE) is developing. At the facility, Lilly will develop genetic medicines with a range of applications, including diabetes, immunology and central nervous system research. Curtis Cole, John Carroll III, Evan Gallagher, Tim Allen and Caitlin Mahoney of Colliers represented Eli Lilly in the deal.

The site will also include a shared space modeled after Lilly Gateway Labs in San Francisco to support biotech startups in the Boston area. This area will afford users access to dedicated and configurable lab and office space and opportunities for collaboration with Lilly scientists. These companies are expected to generate as many as 150 additional new jobs once the space is fully occupied.

The investment follows Lilly’s 2020 Prevail Therapeutics initiative, which centered on the launch of a gene therapy facility in New York City. Lilly projects that within five years, employment at the Boston facility will grow from 120 to more than 250 research biologists, chemists, data scientists and other experts in genetic medicine. The New York facility will grow to employ up to 200 scientists during that time, according to Lilly.

“The institute will enhance our efforts on neurodegenerative diseases and integrate Lilly’s genetic medicine research and platforms with the goal of advancing promising and potentially life-altering new medicines from the lab to clinical studies and ultimately to patients,” says Franz Hefti, CEO of Prevail Therapeutics at Lilly and co-director of the institute.

Alexandria Real Estate Equities, a California-based REIT, is building 15 Necco St. in partnership with National Development. The property will offer a rooftop terrace with green spaces and flexible workspaces, as well as retail and restaurant space on the ground floor. In addition, the building will be situated adjacent to a waterfront park with walking trails, art installations and programmed event spaces. Completion of the building is slated for late 2023.

Alexandria Real Estate Equities has a preexisting relationship with Eli Lilly, which occupies some 600,000 square feet at Alexandria properties in San Diego, San Francisco and New York City. In addition, Eli Lilly has also leased 36,000 square feet at Alexandria’s building at 215 First St. in Boston to support the scale-up of its new institute for genetic medicine.

The stock price of Alexandria Real Estate Equities opened at $185.64 per share on Tuesday, Feb. 22, the day the project was announced, up from $165.91 per share a year ago.

— Taylor Williams

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