Thursday, December 23, 2021

Spark Therapeutics To Build $575 Million Gene Therapy Center on Drexel's University City Campus

 By Carlos Likins CoStar News

Spark Therapeutics plans to invest $575 million to build a new gene therapy innovation center on Drexel University's campus in Philadelphia's University City neighborhood.

Through a 99-year ground lease of Drexel University's F Lot, the new gene therapy center will be located at the intersection of 30th and Chestnut streets. The 500,000-square-foot, multistory facility is set to be a part of Spark's now projected 1 million-square-foot campus in Philadelphia.

"Through this significant investment and plans to more than double our physical footprint, we’re poised for continued growth as we seek to develop the next generation of genetic medicines as a member of the Roche Group," Jeff Marrazzo CEO and co-founder of Spark Therapeutics, said in a statement. "Since founding Spark eight years ago, Philadelphia has been part of our company’s DNA and we’re proud to continue to call Philadelphia home for many years to come."

Spark Therapeutics is currently headquartered at 3737 Market St. in University City. Spark was acquired by Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company Roche in 2019, but it continues to operate as an independent company in Philadelphia.

"Since founding Spark, we knew Philadelphia had the potential to be the life sciences hub it is becoming today," said Marrazzo. "From our prestigious universities and hospitals, to the investments poured annually into scientific research and the sheer volume of medical professionals that receive training here, Philadelphia has every ingredient necessary for life sciences companies to succeed. We’re honored to be part of Philadelphia’s success story and proud to feature the city in the next chapter of Spark’s story with our colleagues at Roche."

In addition to its physical expansion, Spark Therapeutics is entering a long-term partnership with Drexel University to advance life sciences research and innovation in University City, according to the university's president, John Fry.

"This partnership will generate unparalleled opportunities for our students and faculty to participate in groundbreaking research and to help create and sustain the workforce that will make West Philadelphia a leader in the life sciences revolution," Fry said in a statement.

Construction on Spark's new gene therapy innovation center is anticipated to begin in the fourth quarter of 2022.

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