Pharmaceutical trials firm quadrupling space in University of Miami life science park
By Anne-Margaret Swary
The University of Miami's Life Science & Technology Park has passed 60% occupancy and announced a significant new tenant ahead of its Sept. 20 ribbon-cutting.
Advance Pharma CR signed a 12-year lease for 20,000 square feet on the fourth floor, making it the second-largest tenant behind UM's Tissue Bank, which shares 80,000 square feet with another local organ procurement organization, said project leasing manager Bill Hunter of Wexford Miami LLC, the park's developer.
The move will allow the Kendall-based company, which conducts clinical trials for the pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device industries, to nearly quadruple the space of its current site, said Abby Symonds, Advance Pharma's director of marketing and business development.
"We've been expanding very rapidly, so we needed to find a new facility very quickly that would be able to not only meet our capacity needs but would also have the platform and amenities necessary to serve our clientele," Ms. Symonds said. "Miami's health district is the second-largest in the United States. To be able to be associated and networked with such major players in the health industry is just a wonderful opportunity for us."
Advance Pharma will begin consolidating all its operations into building in October, Ms. Symonds said. The company will occupy third floor space for about nine months while its fourth-floor unit undergoes final construction.
"Even right now, we've been so busy with studies coming our way we're bursting at the seams waiting to move into our new facilities," she said.
Cincinnati-based Kaleidoscope, a full-service research and product design company, also has signed on to lease a single office, relocating a satellite office from Boca Raton. The company focuses on transportation, medical, electronics and consumer goods.
"Being right there in the mix of the University of Miami's medical district, other companies that are potential business for us being there,
it just made sense for us to have a footprint there," said Jon Buzzard, Kaleidoscope's medical team leader.
The 252,000-square-foot Life Science & Technology Park will give a number of entities the opportunity to expand into a state-of-the-art facility, especially UM's Tissue Bank.
"Our tissue bank was in a structure that was not designed to let it operate to its full potential," said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, senior vice president and dean of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. "Although it has really done a great job at creating new products that have been shipped all over the United States, there was always a certain degree of limitation in fulfilling the opportunities presented by the technologies."
The nonprofit organization will quadruple its space and expand from three processing rooms to eight once its transition to the park is done this year, allowing it to increase its production of bone and soft tissue grafts, sign new deals with health facilities and create new jobs, said its director, Dr. Tom Temple.
"It's made a major impact in our ability to recruit donors and get those tissues back into hospitals," he said. "We have made inroads in not only being exclusive suppliers of tissue for major hospitals in South Florida but other hospitals around the state. Our presence is felt from Miami to Jacksonville to Key West to Pensacola."
The new facility enables the organization to diversify products to help a more diverse make-up of patients and reach a level of product delivery 10 times greater than before, Mr. Goldschmidt said.
"By virtue of the fact that we're increasing our production, we'll be hiring people to work in the processing rooms, to help recover the tissues, to do the quality assurance that goes along with the whole process," Mr. Temple said.
Having other life science and biotech company so nearby also will create opportunities for synergistic relationships — much like working alongside the organ procurement organization that occupies an adjacent 30,000 square feet to the Tissue Bank's 50,000 square feet.
"I think it will bring scientists from all over the world that are interested in tissue transplantation and regenerative medicine," he said. "The synergies will be there for tissue distribution, and also for educational purposes."
The park houses wet and dry labs, offices, lab-ready development suites and retail. The ground-floor retail offerings will include a UPS store, fitness center and a full-service restaurant not yet announced.
Negotiations continue with entities from the region, other parts of the country and international prospects, Mr. Hunt said.
Other tenants signed on include Madrid-based information technology firm Āndago, Community Blood Centers of South Florida, organ procurement organization Life Alliance, medical device firm Emunamedica, national intellectual property law firm Novak Druce + Quigg, medical device firm Daya Medicals, and the Enterprise Development Corp. of South Florida.
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