Astellas Pharma on Thursday announced plans to expand its footprint in Massachusetts with a newly planned life sciences facility in the biotechnology hotspot of Cambridge.
The new hub will contain offices and laboratories and, by 2024, occupy about 62,000 square feet of space. Astellas expects that, over time, “a few hundred” Boston-area employees in dealmaking, research and development roles will work at the facility. It will “enable our teams to work together seamlessly and capitalize on the diverse expertise both within the company and outside our walls,” said Chief Scientific Officer Yoshitsugu Shitaka, in a statement.
The space will also include a home for Discovery Accelerator — a startup-focused initiative Astellas hatched in 2021 — that will serve as an incubator for its biotech partners.
The facility is the third recent move the Japanese drugmaker has made to establish a presence in the Boston area. In 2019, the company put about $13 million into two incubators run by startup accelerator LabCentral, money earmarked for local gene and cell therapy startups. A year later, Astellas launched the Institute for Regenerative Medicine, a Westborough, Massachusetts-based hub for cell therapy research and manufacturing.
Astellas has also acquired Boston-area startups Mitobridge, Ocata Therapeutics and Potenza Therapeutics.
The facility’s announcement comes amidst a broader change in how Astellas conducts its research. The company recently switched CEOs amid a push for continued growth when its top-selling cancer medicine Xtandi loses patent protection. Astellas also continues to pour money into cell and gene therapy, despite some recent setbacks. Earlier this week, it invested in cell therapy developer Poseida Therapeutics.
The company also opened up a research hub on the West Coast last year.
by Delilah Alvarado
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