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13 July, 2020 - 10:49 By Tony Quested

Bit Bio deal gives BioMed Realty full house at Babraham flagship

US property powerhouse BioMed Realty has completed the lease-up of its landmark scheme at the Babraham Research Campus in Cambridge UK, underlining the strength of the life science cluster.

Bit Bio, a world leader in synthetic biology, has agreed to take 25,000 sq ft of space on a 10-year lease at the [email protected] development. 

The fast-growing company joins the likes of drug discovery and development platforms Mission Therapeutics and RxCelerate, as well as liquid biopsy specialists Inivata at the flagship.

Almost two-thirds of the tenants are moving from existing facilities on the campus to larger scale-up labs to remain closely connected to the robust on-campus science and research community.

All 100,000 sq ft of mixed laboratory and office space at [email protected] has been leased within 12 months – ahead of schedule. The first business to take up occupancy is PetMedix, a fast-growing biotherapeutics firm.

Launched in 2017, [email protected] was developed by BioMed Realty and is operated in collaboration with Babraham Research Campus, one of the UK’s leading campuses to support early stage bioscience enterprises. 

[email protected] offers 100,000 sq ft of flexible and fully-fitted premium lab and work space, allowing fast-growing businesses to move in and focus solely on science and research.

Derek Jones, CEO of Babraham Bioscience Technologies, which develops and manages the Babraham Research Campus, said: “We are delighted Bit Bio and PetMedix have chosen to make the Campus their home. They will benefit from being part of the wider Campus community of 60 innovative commercial organisations, as well as co-location with world leading research at the Babraham Institute. 

“Our supportive and highly networked community shares a common objective; to make a positive contribution to the world’s health and we welcome both companies’ presence and contribution to that aim.”

Bit Bio, founded in 2016 by leading neurosurgeon Dr Mark Kotter, has developed a unique technology to edit the code of stem cells to create specialised cells like neurons and muscle tissue that can then be used for academic and medical research. 

Bit Bio’s current projects include cell therapy for cancer patients and finding cures for diseases affecting the central nervous and immune systems. The company closed on a $41.5 million Series A investment last month, bringing the company’s total funding to $50 million.

Cambridge is a high growth location at the core of the Oxford-Cambridge Arc - a world-leading hub of pharmaceutical, biomedical and biotechnology companies that is estimated to have contributed over £111 billion to the UK economy in 2019 alone. 

However, acute demand-supply imbalances threaten to undermine the region’s long-term growth and ability to play a leading role in the UK’s economic recovery post-coronavirus.

Healthy demand and a lack of suitable lab space has seen rents increase in Cambridge over the last year. In 2019, rents in the sector rose by 12 per cent to an historic high of £46.50 per sq ft, according to Bidwells, a Cambridge-based property consultancy. Occupiers are also continuing to focus on Grade-A space, accounting for 64 percent of total take up in last year.

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