The Princeton West Innovation Campus is the newly repositioned, 1.2 million-square-foot former Bristol-Myers Squibb complex in Hopewell, which spans 33 buildings with research and development, pharmaceutical manufacturing and support spaces.
By Joshua Burd
Another life sciences company is coming to the 1.14 million-square-foot former Bristol-Myers Squibb campus in Hopewell, where it plans to lease 62,000 square feet of laboratory space.
The Philadelphia-based user, Passage Bio Inc., describes itself as a genetic medicines company focused on developing therapies for rare, monogenic central nervous system disorders. It will use space at Lincoln Equities Group’s Princeton West Innovation Campus to support chemistry, manufacturing and controls lab operations for its gene therapy programs.
“Investing in an in-house CMC lab puts us in greater control of our vector manufacturing and quality control processes as we advance our gene therapy product candidates into the clinic in 2021 and beyond,” said Bruce Goldsmith, Passage Bio’s CEO and president. “The opening of this lab will be another important step to assure we have the processes in place to support the continued development of our lead gene therapy products well into the future.”
The new lab, slated to open in the second quarter of 2021, is the latest addition to the 33-building, 433-acre campus at 311 Pennington Rocky Hill Road. Bristol-Myers Squibb said in 2016 that it would close the research and development complex as it reshuffled its facilities nationwide, placing it on the market as a multitenant asset.
To that end, the company last year signed a 185,000-square-foot lease with PTC Therapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical firm, which uses the campus for biologics production and research. A joint venture of Lincoln Equities Group and H.I.G. Realty Partners has since acquired the site, keying on its existing state-of-the-art infrastructure and expected demand from the life sciences sector during the pandemic.
The JLL leasing team at the campus includes Dan Loughlin, Bob Ryan, Jim Medenbach and John Buckley.
Publicly traded Passage Bio said its new lab will be a key component of a plan to expand its internal manufacturing capabilities in support of its lead gene therapy programs, as they move into the clinic and advance toward commercialization, according to a news release. The space will complement the recent opening of its dedicated manufacturing suite at Catalent’s facility in Maryland.
Its long-term lease at the multipurpose R&D and manufacturing campus also provides Passage Bio with readily available expansion opportunities, the news release said. The company plans to grow its headcount in 2021 with more than 20 new positions at the new lab.
“State-of-the-art analytics are essential for optimizing vector production and characterizing the safety and efficacy of gene therapy products as we move from early to late-stage clinical development and eventually to commercial-scale production,” said Alex Fotopoulos, chief technical officer of Passage Bio. “The lab capability and infrastructure will enable us to apply and advance cutting-edge vector analytics, along with our partners at the Penn Gene Therapy Program, to propel our gene therapy programs forward.”