Liberty Property Trust and PIDC joined WuXi AppTec, Inc., a global leader in pharmaceuticals, biopharmaceuticals, and medical devices, for a ribbon cutting ceremony to open their third facility at the Navy Yard. This new 150,000 square foot facility which, when fully operational, has the potential to accommodate an additional 200 high tech manufacturing and support jobs. The completion of this cell and gene therapy manufacturing building adds to the rapidly growing life sciences community at the Navy Yard which with a total of 750,000 square feet, is now home to the highest concentration of privately leased life sciences space in the city of Philadelphia.
“Over the last decade, the Navy Yard has become the epicenter for life science companies in Philadelphia,” said Brian Cohen, vice president and city manager for Liberty Property Trust. “WuXi AppTec has been at the forefront of this movement, leading this segment of the thriving business community which continues to attract top companies and talent from around the world. Today, as we cut the ribbon on Wuxi AppTec’s third facility at the Navy Yard, there is no greater illustration of this success.”
In 2004, Liberty developed a 75,626 square foot office and lab facility for WuXi AppTec, one of the first life sciences companies to locate to the Navy Yard. In 2014, as WuXi AppTec grew and developed the organization on the cutting edge of the biotechnology industry, they expanded into 55,000 square feet of flexible space at another Liberty property in the Navy Yard Commerce Center. With the opening today of this facility, WuXi AppTec expands their Navy Yard footprint to over 280,000 square feet of space, which will employ more than 400 people by the end of 2016.
Designed by Environetics Design (NOTE: now called NORR), WuXi AppTec’s newest building incorporates similar materials to its adjacent building at 4751 League Island Boulevard including the extensive use of cast stone with fields of warm brick and a 30’ tall curtainwall. In addition, the building features a minimum 37’ clear height and vast loading capabilities. It is targeting LEED® Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
“This facility is one of the largest facilities in the world for the GMP manufacturing of vectors and new cell- and gene-based medicines, such as CAR-T cell therapies for the treatment of cancer and other devastating diseases,” said Felix Hsu, Senior Vice President of the US Business Unit, WuXi AppTec. “We are very proud to build upon our relationship with Liberty and to continue to create an important center for the manufacturing of cell and gene therapies here in Philadelphia at the Navy Yard.”
Life Sciences Thriving at the Navy Yard
Philadelphia’s life sciences industry has grown to one of the strongest in the country due to the strength of its academic and research institutions, a robust talent pipeline from recent college graduates to senior executives and scientists, the central location on the East Coast, and proximity to international customers via air, rail, and sea. At the Navy Yard, life sciences companies benefit from the flexibility to build a completely custom facility that suits the company’s every need and the campus-like atmosphere, with over 20 acres of world-class parks and open spaces, fostering a creative and collaborative environment leveraging the existing activity and well positioned for growth, the campus has the remaining land capacity to create the largest urban Life Sciences cluster in the United States.
“Philadelphia has one of the most dynamic life sciences and healthcare industry clusters in the nation. The Navy Yard offers a unique campus environment to attract top talent and support the growth of this important sector of our economy,” said John Grady, President of PIDC. “As one of the first tenants within the Navy Yard’s growing community of R&D enterprises, WuXi AppTec has long been at the forefront of innovation in Philadelphia and we are thrilled to celebrate their continued expansion and growth.”
The life sciences industry at the Navy Yard currently utilizes 750,000 square feet of space and covers a wide variety of concentrations, including a large corporate facility for GSK, established and emerging companies (Wuxi AppTec, Iroko Pharmaceuticals, Adaptimmune), educational institutions (University of Pennsylvania, Vincera Institute, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals), and related capital ventures (Phoenix IP Ventures and Ben Franklin Technology Partners) among others.