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June 06, 2014

Space-hungry startups drive up laboratory rents

San Francisco Business Times

Ron Leuty

Emerging biotech companies are quickly filling vacant space in the Bay Area, but without commitments for large chunks of real estate, developers aren't expected to ease the oncoming space crunch.

The space race among companies grabbing 20,000 to 40,000 square feet is shrinking life sciences lab vacancy rates in South San Francisco, Redwood City and the East Bay and driving rents higher. That competition is fed by biotech-friendly public markets that have opened up after a relative cash drought going back to 2008.

Research tools maker Illumina Inc., cancer drug developer Medivation Inc. and Clovis Oncology Inc. are among companies that have taken space at Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc.'s 499 Illinois St., a building vacant under a previous owner since its 2008 construction. The structure was Mission Bay's last big biotech chunk of space. Meanwhile, Portola Pharmaceuticals Inc., which scored $126 million in a May 2013 initial public offering, took 9,739 square feet in South San Francisco, and CardioDx Inc. is moving from Palo Alto to nearly 70,000 square feet in Redwood City.

"They're not taking much additional space, but it all adds up," James Bennett, a partner at brokerage Kidder Mathews, said about the leases.

For the full story, go to San Francisco Business Times.

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