Client story

RNA therapy provider boosts manufacturing in a tight market

Scaling Boston-area biotech driving breakthrough drug discoveries works with JLL to expand production capabilities

  • Lease transactions ranging from 8,000 square feet in 2011 to 500,000 square feet in most recent transaction
  • 210,000-square-foot clinical manufacturing facility

United States


Strategic Consulting, Lease Administration, Transaction Management, Project Management, Design & Commissioning, Integrated Facilities Management

From finding space to ensuring facilities meet regulatory requirements, scaling biotech companies have plenty of decisions to make about their real estate as they grow. But finding time to think about real estate, location and infrastructure while they’re focused on developing life-saving therapies can be one of their biggest challenges. 

A fast-growing Boston-area biotech faced this exact problem as it sought to ramp up production of its messenger RNA therapies prior to and during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. But without a dedicated real estate department, finding the time and expertise to secure the necessary facilities was a challenge. What they did have, though, is a long-standing relationship with JLL, who previously helped secure their first commercial leases.

The firm’s partnership with JLL began more than a decade ago when they signed a lease for an 8,000-square-foot facility. But their collaboration really gained steam when the firm envisioned a whole new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in 2017. The New England-based company needed not only space—they also needed a roadmap for the future designed by a firm with specialized life sciences real estate expertise. 

Sustained support from leasing and design to construction staffing

To get this dynamic biotech company’s new facility up and running as quickly as possible, JLL team members customized their approach to reflect the needs of a mid-sized life sciences firm in Boston—one of the most competitive life sciences markets in the world. Building upon their relationships with area landlords, JLL guided the company to lease a 210,000-square-foot GMP manufacturing campus on 15 acres in the Boston life sciences cluster. 

But securing the site was only the beginning. Throughout the campus’ buildout, which included both manufacturing and office buildings, JLL dove into the details so the biotech’s leadership could focus on life-saving therapies. Details including bringing in facilities management (FM) experts to weigh in on weekly construction meetings, reviewing progress and providing recommendations on how future building design, tooling and equipment selection would impact staffing and the development of standard operating procedures. Recommendations included creating more flexible, adaptable space.

Using a phased staffing model, JLL onboarded and trained FM professionals to work alongside the construction team. Engaging FM staff early in the process ensured critical building systems were properly installed, calibrated and certified so the campus could be fully operational on day one. The JLL team also helped the company address several important issues, from HEPA filter installation and certifications to kitchen rehabilitation and installation, and even parking lot repairs and resurfacing.

An ongoing partnership in service of an important mission

The partnership between this New England biotech firm and JLL yielded two new buildings that are integral to the company’s growth and success—and the alliance didn’t end when the new manufacturing campus went live in 2018. The biotech continues to receive integrated facilities management support, including utilities, janitorial services, workplace services and improved environmental, health and safety standards. The FM team also ensured the company was prepared for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspection with minimal disruption to the facility’s manufacturing schedule. 

Safety and wellness for all

When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down workplaces across the world, the biotech company needed to ensure a safe reentry for employees, who required the on-site equipment to continue their work. It collaborated with JLL to enhance the facility’s safety protocols so employees could return to work safely and with peace of mind. A couple of ways they did this: adding sophisticated health screenings and implementing new technology to streamline employee workflow. 

More than 10 years after the relationship between these organizations began, the life sciences company continues to maintain create, manufacture and distribute transformative medicines for serious infectious diseases, all with JLL’s help.

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