Lilly upsizes its new Cambridge, MA, R&D shop as Big Pharma crowds the neighborhood

Lilly's Kendall Square location--Courtesy of BioMed Realty

Eli Lilly ($LLY), blueprinting an R&D hub outside Boston, is expanding the square footage of its new outpost, snatching up more of the increasingly costly lab space in biotech's most in-demand neighborhood.

The Indiana-headquartered drugmaker is adding another 6,000 square feet to its planned 17,000-square-foot operation in Cambridge, MA, the Boston Business Journal reports. The facility, first announced in May, is slated to wrap up construction by year's end, Lilly said, and the company plans to hire about 30 scientists to focus on drug delivery technology and medical devices there.

Dubbed the Lilly Cambridge Innovation Center, the building is nestled in Cambridge's Kendall Square, home to "a concentration of high-caliber academic institutions, cutting-edge life science and technology companies, and some of the world's leading talent," as CEO John Lechleiter put it in May. Lilly sees the new operation as both a boon to internal R&D and a new deal-making beachhead, complementing its existing outposts in San Diego, New York City and Indianapolis.

And Lilly is hardly the first multinational pharma giant allured by Cambridge's particular mix of industry and academia. Over the past few years, Novartis ($NVS), Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), Pfizer ($PFE), Sanofi ($SNY) and many others have embraced the idea of leaving behind far-flung R&D campuses in favor of urban life among the Kendall Square locals, opening similar innovation centers in search of value-creating partnerships.

- read the story