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News release


Life Sciences Companies Compete for Talent and Space in Top Locations

JLL report reveals new competitive environment is forcing life sciences companies to rethink real estate strategies

CHICAGO, Sept. 22, 2016 - Costs are rising for life sciences companies and this is driving new and creative real estate strategies to ensure they remain in the most prominent life sciences clusters across the country. Both operating and R&D costs are up and the war for talent is fierce in major life sciences clusters such as Greater Boston, San Francisco's Bay Area and Raleigh-Durham. This is putting pressure on real estate and lab space availability.

"Expensive and competitive real estate markets are making life sciences companies evaluate their real estate options," observed Roger Humphrey, Executive Managing Director and leader of JLL's Life Sciences group. "For those highly sought-after locations, fierce competition for space and talent is leading to both new development and creative renovations of first-generation space."

These trends, along with a ranking of the top U.S. life sciences cities and the industry landscape, are revealed in JLL's fifth annual Life Sciences Outlook Report.

Top U.S. life sciences clusters

The top U.S. life sciences clusters continue to thrive even as high-volume acquisitions and divestitures reshape the industry's footprint. Patent expirations and the ceasing of strategic tax-inversion have surfaced as obstacles for global companies looking to maximize efficiency and generate revenue growth.

High costs and a shortage of available laboratory space is leading to new life sciences developments and operations. Talent and resources propelled these cities in the top 10 U.S. life sciences clusters in 2016:

War for talent drives location choices

Access to talent has always driven site selection and many companies are now seeking facilities that are not only close to the talent, but will also enhance employee engagement and retention. With open, flexible floor plans becoming standard, the focus has turned toward amenities. 

A noteworthy example of the new workplace is The Cove in San Francisco, currently the largest life sciences development underway in the United States. A seven-building, one-million-square-foot campus, The Cove will feature a full-service amenities center with fitness and exercise rooms, a bowling alley, bocce ball courts, a café, an amphitheatre and hotel space.   

"Innovation is possible only with the right scientists, and the right creative business minds at the table. For this reason, the life sciences sector is intensely focused on attracting and retaining top talent," said Humphrey. "We are seeing companies build workplaces that influence the health and well-being of employees through fitness centers, day care centers and other onsite well-being amenities, and provide plentiful natural daylight and inspiring spaces to work."

Business swaps alter the life sciences landscape

U.S. M&A activity soared to an historic high in 2015, both in the quantity of deals and aggregate deal volume. Strategic business swaps—the spinning-off and tucking-in of a business line or asset for the purpose of driving value—are occurring frequently, with potentially significant impact on commercial real estate markets. Biogen, for example, is seeking a buyer for its haemophilia portfolio, but the buyer may or may not require the facilities associated with the business.

About the Report

JLL's annual Life Sciences Outlook tracks geographic shifts in life sciences innovation, operations and facilities investments, including analysis of countries and cities most actively investing in their life sciences sectors. It includes a ranking of the top U.S. life sciences clusters, a look at top global cities to watch, as well as analyses of global trends. The complete findings of the Life Sciences Outlook are available in a dedicated microsite here.

JLL offers a team of real estate and facility management experts dedicated to helping life sciences companies optimize and manage their real estate portfolios. The firm provides a comprehensive range of facilities management services to the life sciences community, providing services for more than 125 million square feet of research, manufacturing and office space, including GxP operations. Its industry-leading full-service platform includes integrated facilities management, engineering and operations, energy and sustainability, transaction advisory services, lease administration, project management and comprehensive laboratory services.

A leader in real estate outsourcing, JLL's Corporate Solutions business helps corporations and public institutions improve productivity in the cost, efficiency and performance of their national, regional or global real estate portfolios by creating outsourcing partnerships to manage and execute a range of corporate real estate services. This service delivery capability helps corporations improve business performance, particularly as companies turn to the outsourcing of their real estate activity as a way to manage expenses and enhance profitability.

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About JLL
JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. A Fortune 500 company with annual fee revenue of $5.2 billion and gross revenue of $6.0 billion, JLL has more than 280 corporate offices, operates in more than 80 countries and has a global workforce of more than 60,000. On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services for a property portfolio of 4.0 billion square feet, or 372 million square meters, and completed $138 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2015. Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $59.1 billion of real estate assets under management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit