AbbVie signs lease on new South San Francisco research hub

The buildings are designed for LEED Platinum certification, with solar panels, rainwater capture and vegetated roofs. (BioMed Realty)

AbbVie has signed on to be the first tenant at a new biotech campus in South San Francisco, inking a long-term lease for 479,000 square feet in a planned 12-story building.

The first phase of the 1.4 million-square-foot Gateway of Pacific project is currently under construction and will include laboratory, research and office space, plus a 50,000-square-foot amenity center with dining options and a fitness center, as well as recreation and meeting spaces.

Located near the entrance to South San Francisco off Highway 101, Gateway of Pacific aims to become a new landmark life sciences hub in the biotech hotbed, according to the specialty real estate firm BioMed Realty.

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The new, customizable site joins the north Chicago-based AbbVie’s nearby locations on the San Francisco Bay, including its research center in Redwood City and the homes of its subsidiaries Pharmacyclics and Stemcentrx.

Ground was broken for the project in May 2017 and is expected to be completed late next year. An AbbVie spokesperson told the San Francisco Business Times that its leases in California run through 2021, and that it won’t move into the new space, which could support 1,500 people, until those leases expire.

Phase 2 of the Gateway of Pacific campus is set to include an additional 431,000 square feet of lab and office space with an additional parking structure, to be finished in late 2021.

RELATED: AbbVie and Calico renew their aging research collaboration with an extra $1B

This comes after a busy M&A period for AbbVie, which acquired oncology drug developer Stemcentrx in April 2016, for $5.8 billion in cash plus a $4 billion commitment in milestone payments. But not all has gone well, as the Big Pharma terminated a trial of one of the company’s antibody-drug conjugates for solid tumors earlier this year, following a phase 1 study in colorectal and gastric cancer.

Pharmacyclics, meanwhile, was bought out by AbbVie in March 2015, in a $21 billion deal that included its blockbuster blood cancer drug Imbruvica.

And earlier this summer, AbbVie renewed its $1.5 billion aging-focused research collaboration with nearby Calico, which has grown to over 150 employees in South San Francisco since it was formed by Google.