The Hamner Institutes campus in RTP is being sold for some $20 million.

The complex and surrounding land is being acquired by Alexandria Real Estate Equities, a life science complex development firm.

The Hamner is leasing back the facilities, the organizations announced early Monday.

The two also are forming what they call the “Research Triangle Park Collaboration Consortium.”

Located at 6 Davis Drive in the heart of RTP, The Hamner includes some 140,000 square feet of office and lab space. The complex is named after Dr. Charles Hamner, the long-time head of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.

Long-term plans had called for The Hamner to include 1 million square feet of office and lab space.

The Hamner-UNC Institute for Drug Safety Sciences and the Institute for Chemical Safety Sciences and four “Centers for Excellence” – focused on preclinical safety and efficacy, genomic biology and bioinformatics, computational and dose response modeling, and human health assessment – are based at The Hamner.

Alexandria already owns and operates some 840,000 square feet of lab and office space in the Park.

Tenants include Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, Medicago, Bayer AG, Eisai and Astellas Pharma.

Alexandria (NYSE: ARE) touts itself as the “largest and preeminent life science real estate owner, operator, and developer in the RTP cluster.” The RTP effort is the company’s “first installation” of what it calls a “core university strategy, which is intended to create a network of institutionally anchored life science hubs with best-in-class strategic collaborators from top-tier universities, innovative public and private companies, and leading international institutions in several of Alexandria’s key adjacency cluster markets.”

“Based on our new strategic alliance with The Hamner, this Collaboration Consortium will bring together North Carolina’s leading research institutions with the commercial sector in a highly novel platform designed to enhance international life science collaboration, thus furthering our strategy of developing first-in-class life science clusters in key locations immediately proximate to the world’s most innovative academic centers,” said Joel Marcus, the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Alexandria, in a statement.

Added William Greenlee, CEO of The Hamner, said the deal would allow The Hamner to continue to pursue aggressive growth plans.

“This alliance will allow us to further expand our position as a preeminent research facility focused on public health and environmental sciences, and a recognized voice with regard to public policy in the U.S.,” he said in a statement. “We intend to leverage our significant relationships with academia and the commercial sector, in addition to utilizing Alexandria’s broad and deep industry ties in the U.S. and abroad, to dramatically expand the global reach of the campus and foster groundbreaking collaborations and life science discoveries for years to come.”

Formally known as the CIIT Centers for Health Research, its name was changed to The Hamner in 2007 as part of a planned $35 million expansion.

CIIT, which dates to 1974, is supported by the chemical industry.

When the name was changed, CITT said it also wanted to launch a major expansion of its facilities to 1 million square feet from 126,000 square feet.

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