Another fast-growing cell therapy company snags big East Bay manufacturing space


Coming off a $675 billion IPO earlier this year, a fast-growing Seattle-based gene and cell therapy company will pay nearly $15 per square foot for 163,193 square feet of manufacturing space in a Fremont industrial park.


Sana Biotechnology Inc. (NASDAQ: SANA) said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Wednesday that it signed a 10-year lease, with two additional five-year options, for the space in Pacific Commons South on Cushing Parkway, two miles from I-880. It will pay about $200,000 a month in rent to Pacific Commons Owner LP.


The deal is one of a growing number in the cell and gene therapies space. Nkarta Inc. (NASDAQ: NKTX) earlier Wednesday said it will take 88,000 square feet for commercial-scale cell therapy manufacturing and a new headquarters on Veterans Boulevard in South San Francisco. National Resilience Inc. last year subleased 153,000 square feet in Fremont to make cell therapies and viral vectors used in vaccines and gene therapies, and Allogene Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: ALLO) this summer plans to open a 118,000-square-foot facility in Newark to make off-the-shelf cell therapies.


What’s more, Bayer AG hopes to rebuild much of its Berkeley campus for emerging cell therapy products and soon-to-go-public Tenaya Therapeutics Inc. of South San Francisco leased 94,000 square feet in Union City for its gene therapy manufacturing. The University of California, San Francisco, last month said it and Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO) will convert a 44,000-square-foot warehouse in Mission Bay into a cell therapy manufacturing center. Company leaders have said that the higher-cost Bay Area rises above other regions because the expertise for making cell and gene therapies is here, and they need those experts focused on ever-changing manufacturing processes.


Sana will use the Fremont site to make allogeneic, or ready-for-patients, off-the-shelf chimeric antigen receptor T cells — known as CAR-Ts — gene therapies and stem cell-derived therapies for clinical trials and early commercial launches. “Manufacturing remains a key bottleneck to the development and broad accessibility of cell- and gene-based medicines,” Sana President and CEO Steve Harr said in a statement. “This facility is a key component in enabling our aspirations to rapidly innovate, consistently manufacture and scale production of these medicines.” The company said in its SEC filing that it will receive a tenant improvement allowance of $1.6 million.


Sana will take more than half of the 271,840-square-foot Class A warehouse and industrial building at 5567 Cushing Parkway. The structure was built last year as part of developer Overton Moore Properties’ spec buildout of more than 1.7 million square feet in a joint venture with Invesco Real Estate, the project’s equity partner.

The development received an early commitment from e-commerce giant Amazon Inc.


Sana, which has facilities in South San Francisco and Cambridge, Massachusetts, was launched by veterans of Genentech Inc., UCSF and Juno Therapeutics. Its work involves fine-tuning genes in cells as well as replacing damaged cells in the body. Its therapies are aimed broadly at cancer, central nervous system diseases, heart disease and genetic disorders.


Before its $675.6 million IPO in February, Sana raised venture capital from ARCH Venture Partners, Flagship Pioneering, Baillie Gifford, the Alaska Permanent Fund and others, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ personal venture capital fund, Bezos Expeditions, and GV, the former Google Ventures.

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