AstraZeneca's Alexion, Arvinas nab space at future 10-story biotech tower in New Haven

Some biotechs are building as others crumble, with several industry players—including Alexion Pharmaceuticals and Arvinas—involved in plans for a new 10-floor tower built for burgeoning biotechs.    

Last July, AstraZeneca announced a $39 billion acquisition of Alexion, immediately giving the U.K. pharma's top line a $6 billion bump thanks to Alexion’s blockbuster C5 inhibitor franchises, Soliris and Ultomiris. At the time of the deal, the pharma giant said it anticipated Alexion’s drugs to grow 9% per year through 2023. 

The growth aligns with new expansion plans at a New Haven, Connecticut, tower currently under construction. Alexion has signed on for a space that will double the size of its current lab floor space in the city, a company spokesperson told Fierce Biotech. The AstraZeneca unit expects the new space to be operational by the end of 2023, though the company hasn’t disclosed specifically how much of the 525,000-square-foot tower it will occupy.

Clinical-stage biotech Arvinas also committed to a 10-year lease occupying 160,000 square feet across three floors, while Yale University reserved 125,000 square feet across three floors.

The growing biotech tower stands out amid a surge of industry layoffs and cuts, plus a tumultuous market for companies in the industry. 

When asked about the ability to expand at a time when many others are doing the opposite, a spokesperson cited AstraZeneca’s and Alexion’s shared mission of using innovative approaches to develop life-changing medicines as reason for making new and enhanced investments into R&D capacities in New Haven. The expansion will be used to foster research capabilities including target validation and device development, the spokesperson said.

Alexion is actively recruiting to fill 50 open positions in its New Haven office, with more than half of the spots in research and product development, and further hiring is anticipated for the new tower space.

Meanwhile, Arvinas intends to make the new tower its headquarters beginning in 2024. The New Haven-based company has roots at Yale University and is backed by Big Pharma giant Pfizer, which forked over $650 million last summer and invested an additional $350 million to develop and commercialize Arvinas’ protein-degrading breast cancer drug.

Beyond its own space in the tower, Yale University is financially backing the building’s 48,000 square-foot incubator space, which will be run by Cambridge-based BioLabs, a company that manages co-working spaces in the life sciences.