Report: In a big split, Baxter looks to relocate biopharma to Boston

For months now rumors of a big prospective biotech relocation have been circulating in the hot Boston hub. And now the Boston Business Journal, a weekly with its ear to the ground on all things related to real estate, reports that its sources are saying that the company in question is Baxter International ($BAX).

  Ludwig Hantson

Currently based in Deerfield, IL, Baxter is splitting itself in two, spinning out its biopharma work into a separate company. The BBJ reports that its real estate sources have been looking for 150,000 to 200,000 square feet of space to accomodate Baxter, with another 200,000 square feet of lab space in the second phase of development. 

Baxter's biopharma operations are expected to start out with sales of about $6.5 billion, with R&D focused on hemophilia and other bleeding disorders. Ludwig Hantson, the current head of the bioscience division at Baxter, has been tapped to run the new company.

Baxter isn't saying anything. "Given Baxter's size and scope, as well as our many partnerships and collaborations, there are often rumors circulating," a spokesperson told the Tribune. "As a matter of course, we do not comment on rumors or speculation."

Boston has been at the center ring of a global realignment of Big Pharma R&D in recent years. Novartis ($NVS) and Amgen ($AMGN) are only two of the recent converts to the practice as large companies look to concentrate more and more of their research activities into major global hubs. That's why Amgen is eliminating its complex in Seattle while focusing more of its work in Boston and San Francisco. Baxter is also following Abbott ($ABT), which did a split of its own, while Pfizer ($PFE) is sizing up a similar move.

Boston's popularity, and major centers of activity in places like Kendall Square, has made finding space in the hub particularly difficult. According to the BBJ, the search continues. 

- here's the story from the BBJ
- here's the report from the Tribune