Third Rock, Tango decamp to Boston's Fenway neighborhood

In recent years, biopharma companies have rushed to Kendall Square in Massachusetts, setting up a research site or a U.S. outpost, with some moving their headquarters there outright. But as companies flock to the biotech hot spot, others are leaving, thanks to skyrocketing rents and overcrowding. 

Tango Therapeutics is one of them. The cancer-focused biotech is ditching its digs on Binney Street to move into a new building in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood. One of its backers, Third Rock Ventures, is coming, too. The duo will be the first tenants of a 14-story building housing about 500,000 square feet of office and lab space, The Boston Globe reported. It is slated to open in 2022. 

Tango will lease 65,000 square feet of research and clinical space in the new building, while Third Rock, whose current offices are in Back Bay, will lease 24,000 square feet, according to the Boston Business Journal. 

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“Our portfolio companies are launched from bold ideas at the intersection of science, business, medicine and strategy—providing the best opportunity to make a dramatic difference in patients’ lives,” Kevin Gillis, partner and chief operating officer at Third Rock, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to be anchored within The Fenway’s budding innovation scene, and excited for the opportunity to tap into the array of amenities to match the energy and diversity we hold as important to our efforts.” 

They’re following another Third Rock portfolio company to Fenway: Decibel Therapeutics, which set up its new headquarters and laboratories there in 2016, about a year after it launched. Then-CEO Steven Holtzman figured Decibel was the first biotech to set up shop in the neighborhood but that it may become a trendsetter rather than an outlier. 

“I would be surprised if we don’t have biotech brethren there in the next couple of years,” he told The Boston Globe. 

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For others to leave the biotech hotbed, they will have to conclude that operating in crowded Kendall Square isn’t worth the costs that come with it. In spite of rising rents and a shortage of space, the neighborhood’s pull has stayed strong. In 2018, Ipsen announced plans to move its U.S. headquarters from New Jersey to Kendall Square and its compatriot Servier opened a new site there, too. The next year, Allergan set up an R&D group there, and Bayer said it would “significantly expand” its presence in Kendall Square.  

“I’m always struck by how some people think you have to be within a few hundred yards of Kendall Square to succeed,” Holtzman said in 2016.