Pharmaceutical and biotechnology company Moderna has acquired a newly built 140,000-square-foot Boston-area GMP facility from developer Oxford Properties Group for $91 million.
The 24-acre parcel, acquired as a vacant site by Oxford in 2021, is located at 149 Hayes Memorial Drive in Marlborough, Mass., a Boston submarket. Oxford built a two-story biomanufacturing facility that was designed to accommodate a range of manufacturing processes.
The building has 36-foot clear heights, four loading docks and multiple freight elevators. Moderna, which plans to use the property for manufacturing and office space, is expected to add 60,000 square feet and invest more than $320 million in the expansion, according to local news reports. The buildout will include a manufacturing clean room, lab space and a warehouse, the Worcester Business Journal reported.
Oxford said the facility is expected to open in late 2024 and generate more than 200 jobs in the city of Marlborough by 2026. Marlborough officials are considering a 20-year tax-increment financing request from Moderna, according to the Community Advocate, which was the first to report Moderna’s plan to buy the property.
Moderna, a Cambridge, Mass.-based company that made one of the main COVID-19 vaccines, has been growing in recent years, adding manufacturing, lab and office space in the Boston life science market. In May 2021, the company announced it was expanding its Norwood, Mass., footprint by more than doubling its production lab space from 300,000 square feet to 650,000 square feet through the acquisition of another building on the same campus. The space was needed to increase its vaccine production capacity by 50 percent and support technical development capacity and preclinical production capability.
Several months later in October 2021, Moderna contracted with Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. to acquire its 325 Binney St. property in Cambridge, a 462,000-square-foot laboratory and office project that was already under construction. The company beat out other life science firms that were eying the cutting-edge facility that was designed to meet LEED Platinum Core & Shell, LEED Zero Energy and Fitwel certifications to operate as a net-zero commercial laboratory.
Chad Remis, executive vice president, North America, Oxford Properties, said in a prepared statement Oxford had planned to lease the asset and hold it for the long term, when Moderna made an unsolicited offer to buy the property. Remis said that request allowed Oxford to expedite its business plan execution. He said it’s a sign of the ongoing demand for cutting-edge GMP facilities and Oxford’s goal is to continue providing the highly technical real estate infrastructure through traditional leases, ground-up and purpose-built development, and sale-leaseback transactions.
Oxford’s North American cGMP portfolio currently has 1.4 million square feet with an additional development pipeline of about 600,000 square feet. The platform has 11 facilities across six markets, with the largest concentration in the Boston region. Since the beginning of 2021, Oxford has invested more than $3 billion in global life sciences and has identified an additional $5 billion of development opportunities. Oxford’s total life science portfolio has 8 million square feet of completed properties, conversion projects and ground-up developments including R&D labs and cGMP facilities in North America, the U.K. and continental Europe.
In February, Oxford completed its $125 million acquisition of 92 Crowley Drive, a 120,000-square-foot life science and GMP facility under construction in Marlborough. Resilience, a biomanufacturing and pharmaceuticals firm, sold the property to Oxford in a sale-leaseback transaction and will continue to occupy it for up to 30 more years. It was the third sale-leaseback transaction between Oxford and Resilience.