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French biotech firm joins Manhattan cluster

Cellectis, a French biotech company, has just moved in to a 12,066 s/f space at the Alexandria Center for Life Science on the east side of 29th Street in Manhattan.

The company, which specializes in gene-editing and oncology research, is the latest to sign on to the life science cluster.

The Alexandria Center, which is being billed as a biotech hub that rivals Harvard University facilities in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is now 92 percent leased or under negotiation for its West Tower.

The 430,000 s/f building also contains the offices of Roche (which defected from its offices in Nutley, New Jersey), New York University and Intracellular Therapies.

“Cellectis choosing to establish their U.S. headquarters and research center in New York City and at the Alexandria Center for Life Science is another positive indicator for the growth of the cluster, and their cutting-edge research in immuno-oncology using CAR-T cells will be enhanced through the opportunity to collaborate with the world-class academic and medical institutions, along with other leading biotech and pharma companies here in New York,” John Cunningham, the senior vice president and regional market director for Alexandria Real Estate Equities, said in a press release.

Cellectis, which moved in on April 1, is now occupying half of the eighth floor on the West Tower. The company initially looked at Cambridge, but was swayed by the number of scientific research institutions now operating in New York City.

“We were convinced by the outstanding potential of New York City, one of the fastest expanding biotech hubs in the world,” said Cellectis founder and CEO Dr. André Choulika.

“At the Alexandria Center for Life Science, Cellectis is surrounded by renowned academic and medical institutions, leaders from the commercial life sciences industry, and the world’s most robust financial markets.”

Cellectis’ entry means that only four floors remain unoccupied in the West Tower. The first building in the cluster, the East Tower, was completed in 2010. It was fully leased by early 2011.

A third building, the North Tower, is planned for next year. According to Cunningham, the new facility will house more than just biotech firms.

He said that Alexandria Real Estate Equities is also looking to serve the digital health community as they try to attract firms that straddle “the confluence of tech and life sciences.”

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