San Diego saw $43.8 billion in M&A transactions from 2011 through 2014. Large pharmaceutical companies are purchasing biotech firms to fill their R&D pipelines, rather than conduct R&D internally. San Diego has a strong R&D market due in large part to its significant talent pool.
Leasing activity within the San Diego life sciences cluster hit record levels in 2014. The market is poised for continued expansion—both from companies of all sizes and landlords looking to grow their footprints through new development or repositioning of office to wet lab facilities.
Torrey Pines is home to San Diego’s largest concentration of lab space, with over 5 million square feet. The submarket is adjacent to the UC San Diego campus and acts as the epicenter of San Diego’s life sciences market. It boasts occupancy by a number of acclaimed research institutes, some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, and a number of successful biotech companies that range from startups to mature corporations.
University Town Center (UTC)/Eastgate
The UTC/Eastgate submarket, like Torrey Pines, is comprised of mature, publicly traded companies with advanced product development. This submarket has 2.3 million square feet of lab space and is located in San Diego’s “Golden Triangle,” which offers numerous amenities to tenants. Illumina, Eli Lilly, Celgene, Synthetic Genomics, Human Longevity, Genomatica and Senomyx are UTC’s largest users, together occupying just over 1 million square feet, or 44.0 percent, of the submarket’s total wet lab inventory.
Sorrento Mesa has approximately 4 million square feet of lab space and caters to all tiers of San Diego life sciences. Some of the largest companies include BP Biofuels, AstraZeneca (Ardea), Hologic (Gen-Probe), Vical, Arean Pharmaceuticals, Intertek and NuVasive. Over the years, Sorrento Mesa was formed as developers saw opportunities for greater returns through the conversion of industrial and flex building into wet lab facilities.
Sorrento Valley was developed as an ancillary market to Torrey Pines and today continues to be home to many of San Diego’s startup life sciences companies. With a base of older industrial and flex buildings that have been converted to lab space, this submarket has historically provided a more economical alternative for early and mid-stage companies.
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