Alexandria lands anchor R&D tenant for San Francisco biotech cluster

Alexandria Real Estate Equities has bagged an anchor tenant with plans to create a big new R&D operation at its Mission Bay biotech cluster bordering the research campus of the University of California San Francisco. But the real estate developer isn't saying for now just whose name is on the dotted line, revealing only that it's a mid-cap life science company with a market cap of $7 billion to $10 billion.

Whoever it is, its research team will have plenty of room to move. The company inked a 10-year lease at 499 Illinois St. for 97,700 square feet of space for its R&D work. That's close to half of the 219,600-square-foot facility, which already boasts a broad mix of investigators and venture groups, including Celgene ($CELG), Nektar ($NKTR) and Third Rock Ventures.

"This company is a world-class organization, and we look forward to integrating its team into the highly innovative and collaborative Mission Bay life science community," said Stephen A. Richardson, COO and regional marketing director for Alexandria's San Francisco Bay Area cluster.

There aren't a lot of mid-cap life science companies operating in the area that fit this particular bill. The San Francisco Business Times speculates it could be BioMarin ($BMRN), which has been growing R&D ops with new rare-disease drug deals. Or perhaps it's Illumina ($ILMN). Let the guessing games begin.

- here's the press release
- here's the report from the San Francisco Business Times