Bay­er is say­ing farewell to a long­time re­search hub in San Fran­cis­co, cen­tral­iz­ing US ef­forts in the Boston area and po­ten­tial­ly leav­ing sev­er­al biotechs in its in­cu­ba­tor with­out a home.

The Ger­man drug gi­ant will shut down the “in­no­va­tion hub” and Co­Lab­o­ra­tor in­cu­ba­tor ahead of its lease ex­pir­ing in Oc­to­ber, a Bay­er spokesper­son told End­points. Once a lo­ca­tion thought of as piv­otal to Bay­er’s US plans, the San Fran­cis­co site will shut­ter af­ter more than a decade of op­er­a­tion.

Since say­ing last year that it would “eval­u­ate” dif­fer­ent op­tions for the site, Bay­er has shrunk its San Fran­cis­co staff to few­er than 20 work­ers, the spokesper­son said. These em­ploy­ees will be “en­cour­aged” to ap­ply for jobs else­where at Bay­er, in­clud­ing at a Berke­ley, CA lo­ca­tion with more than 100 open­ings.

“We com­mu­ni­cat­ed with em­ploy­ees about this de­ci­sion back in April to pro­vide them with the longest pos­si­ble run­way to mak­ing their next ca­reer moves,” the spokesper­son told End­points in an email. “We rec­og­nize that every­one may not find their next role with­in Bay­er and in this event the com­pa­ny will be pro­vid­ing its stan­dard sev­er­ance as well as job place­ment ser­vices.”

For the biotechs with of­fices at the site, Bay­er will work to help tran­si­tion them to “fu­ture lo­ca­tions of their choos­ing,” the spokesper­son added. There are cur­rent­ly 10 com­pa­nies ei­ther head­quar­tered at the Mis­sion Bay site or us­ing of­fices at the lo­ca­tion, in­clud­ing the Swiss biotech CRISPR Ther­a­peu­tics.

Bay­er first opened the hub back in 2010, start­ing off with about 65 re­searchers at a for­mer Pfiz­er space near UC-San Fran­cis­co. Then in 2012, Bay­er launched its San Fran­cis­co in­cu­ba­tor, which has part­ner sites in Berlin, Moscow, West Sacra­men­to, CA and Kobe, Japan.

The in­cu­ba­tor orig­i­nal­ly fea­tured 6,000 square feet of of­fice space, but Bay­er ex­pand­ed that foot­print to 30,000 in re­cent years.

Bay­er’s move comes af­ter the drug­mak­er had once looked to con­tin­ue ex­pand­ing its San Fran­cis­co hub, but struck out at se­cur­ing more of­fice space. Per a re­port from the San Fran­cis­co Busi­ness Times, near­by Sil­i­con Val­ley tech com­pa­nies like Uber and Square snapped up all the pre­mier space when build­ing out their own busi­ness­es in the ear­ly 2010s.

As a re­sult, Bay­er has piv­ot­ed its fo­cus to the Berke­ley, CA lo­ca­tion hav­ing re­cent­ly pe­ti­tioned the city for a 30-year “mas­ter plan” call­ing for rough­ly 1 mil­lion square feet of space and an ad­di­tion­al 1,000 em­ploy­ees in the next three decades. The site has pumped out three he­mo­phil­ia A treat­ments for dis­tri­b­u­tion world­wide, but Bay­er is look­ing to con­tin­ue its cell and gene ther­a­py push, in­clud­ing a gene ther­a­py for the blood dis­or­der.

Oth­er ef­forts are like­ly to be in­clud­ed at the Berke­ley site, and Bay­er has been beef­ing up its pipeline in re­cent months. Back in Oc­to­ber, Bay­er com­mit­ted up to $4 bil­lion to ac­quire gene ther­a­py pi­o­neer Askle­pios, more com­mon­ly re­ferred to as AskBio. And in De­cem­ber, the drug­mak­er es­tab­lished a cell and gene ther­a­py plat­form to con­sol­i­date all of its re­lat­ed projects un­der one um­brel­la, al­low­ing ex­ecs to swing some more deals.

Bay­er’s oth­er ten­ants at the San Fran­cis­co in­cu­ba­tor are At­lay Ther­a­peu­tics, Bi­o­Graph 55, Cairn Bio­sciences, Co­ag­u­lant Ther­a­peu­tics, DNALite Ther­a­peu­tics, Ex­plo­ra Bi­o­Labs, Mantra Bio, Pro­L­ynx and Xcell Bio­sciences.

This ar­ti­cle has been up­dat­ed to in­clude com­ment from Bay­er.



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