By Joshua Burd
A biopharmaceutical company is weighing plans to acquire an 85,371-square-foot industrial building in Franklin, having won approval for a 10-year, $13 million tax credit package from the state Economic Development Authority.
The agency on Tuesday approved the Grow New Jersey incentive for Legend Biotech USA Inc., which is currently based in Piscataway and is evaluating sites for a new manufacturing, research and development and administrative facility. To that end, the company has proposed acquiring a property at 2101 Cottontail Lane in the Somerset section of Franklin.
The move would come with an estimated capital investment of about $7 million in specialized equipment and furnishings plus, the creation of 305 high-paying positions, the EDA wrote in a memo to its board. Legend Biotech told the authority it was also considering another option, in which it would lease a 111,451-square-foot facility in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
The company, a subsidiary of GenScript Biotech Corp., specializes in discovering and developing novel cell therapies, with a focus on hematologic malignancies, solid tumors, autoimmune and infectious diseases. It recently entered into a global collaboration with Janssen Biotech Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company, to develop and commercialize a specific immunotherapy known as CAR-T, which harnesses the power of a patient’s own immune system to attack cancer cells while limiting damage to healthy cells.
Legend Biotech is weighing the Somerset deal in connection with its new partnership with Janssen, the EDA said. Its other option, the Pennsylvania property, is close to several Janssen locations.
The EDA estimates the project would have a net benefit to the state of $87 million over the 20 year period required by statute. Regardless of which location Legend Biotech chooses, it would maintain its headquarters and its 34 employees in Piscataway.
Brokers from JLL were marketing 2101 Cottontail Lane as of late last year. According to a marketing flyer, the property includes 32,039 square feet of office space and some 53,332 square feet of warehouse space with the potential to double the industrial component.