The groundbreaking for the new headquarters and R&D center of Juno Therapeutics at the Alexandria Center brings increased promise to the booming and fast-growing Seattle biotech industry.
“We hope [this new building] will be integrated in an urban campus with our other assets and the neighboring assets, and the environment here in the heart of Lake Union which has become one of the top … science and technology clusters,” said Alexandria Real Estate CEO Joel Marcus at a groundbreaking event hosted Tuesday afternoon.
The new 12-story state-of-the-art biotech building at 400 Dexter Avenue North — in the bustling South Lake Union neighborhood — is set to open in 2017. Juno is taking over 90,000 square feet of the 287,000 square-foot building, which will be coming online a year before Expedia makes its move to another prominent biotech space in Seattle: The Amgen campus along Elliott Bay.
Juno’s move to the new building comes during a period of promise and growth for the young biotech upstart, which went public last December at $24 per share after raising $314 million in venture funding from Arch Venture Partners, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos and others.
The company — a spin out of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Seattle Children’s Research Institute — is now valued at $5 billion. The stock fell 12 percent on Wednesday following the end of its lock-up period, allowing certain insiders and executives to sell shares for the first time following the IPO.
Marcus shared his remarks alongside Seattle Mayor Edward Murray; Washington State Director of Life Sciences and Global Health Development Maura Little; Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association CEO Chris Rivera; ARCH Venture Partners co-founder Bob Nelsen; and Juno CEO Hans Bishop.
“The groundbreaking of Juno Therapeutics’ new headquarters with Alexandria underscores Seattle’s standing as a global hub for biotechnology and life sciences,” said Mayor Murray. Murray announced an upcoming round-table, bringing together STEM field professionals and government officials to make strides in developing new strategies to take Seattle’s biotech industry to the next level.
Murray also emphasized the tremendous promise that Juno’s research provides to cancer patients and their families.
With the resources made available by the new center, Juno CEO Bishop said it plans to continue their “work of re-engaging the body’s immune system to revolutionize the treatment of cancer in partnership with state and local leaders who are committed to strengthening the region’s life sciences ecosystem with investments in STEM education, transportation, and our research institutions.”
Alexandria and Juno share strong roots in Seattle, and their collaboration demonstrates their leadership efforts to create a strong network of biotech companies in the South Lake Union cluster.
With two of the three founding partners of Juno based in Seattle — the Fred Hutch Cancer Center and Seattle Children’s Research Institute — venture capitalist Robert Nelsen expressed the importance of the location in downtown Seattle.
Alexandria Real Estate now occupies over one million square feet in Seattle. Juno will be joined in the new building by up to half a dozen other tenants.
Mariel Frank is a GeekWire summer intern. She is a student at Georgetown University, planning to study computer science.