RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK –  Across the country, the demand for life science facilities and lab space is increasing, said Joel S. Marcus the founder and executive chairman of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc., at an event organized by the Triangle Business Journal.

Alexandria Real Estate Equities, which operates some 4 million square feet of life science space in the Triangle, and more across seven U.S. markets, recently acquired the former GlaxoSmithKline facility in Research Triangle Park as well as the former headquarters of the Research Triangle Foundation, recently completed a new campus for Moderna in Cambridge, the largest facility the company has worked to complete, to date, said Marcus.

Today, the company also announced that it is completing two projects for clients in Research Triangle Park.  That includes a 100,000 square foot project for Beam Therapeutics and the redevelopment of 174,000 square feet for Jaguar Gene Therapy, according to a statement issued by the company, which Marcus referenced during a panel discussion at the event.

Those are just a few of the examples that demonstrate that demand lab space and life science facilities is increasing, noted Marcus, who added that there is no sign of a slowdown of in-person lab facilities coming as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When’s the last time you did science at your house?” quipped Marcus, addressing a question posed to a panel of Triangle-based business leaders at the TBJ event.

That fact, according to Marcus, means that as interest in the future of the biotechnology, life science, and biopharmaceutical sectors continues to increase, a desire among companies to co-locate with other research and development teams will change the nature of entire regions, including the Triangle.

In particular, noted Marcus, the Triangle is poised to remain atop the three U.S. markets for life science, with the greater Boston area an the greater San Francisco area.

“Gene therapy and cell therapies are the future complex medicines that we will see going forward,” said Marcus.

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When Marcus founded the company in 1994, the company essentially created the niche asset class, he told the audience.  Marcus based the company’s strategy on four principles, including investing in world class locations that possessed a depth of talent, where transferrable science was being conducted, typically through universities, with access to ample risk capital.

The recent infrastructure legislation passed by the United States Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden doesn’t go nearly far enough to support the country’s future opportunity to lead the 21st century global economy, said Marcus.

“I was disappointed in it,” said Marcus.  “Instead of spending an enormous amount of money on Amtrack lines that won’t really mean a lot,” said Marcus, “Put investments in next gen medicine,” he advocated.

Beyond investing federal resources, beyond the some $50 billion in research and development funding provided through the National Institutes of Health, said Marcus, the United States also has an opportunity to expand its production capabilities for semiconductors.

While the U.S. produces roughly 11-13% of all semiconductors, said Marcus, there’s “no excuse” for why the United States couldn’t manufacture 50% of global semiconductors.

“Think about whether you want to build a powerful economic engine, and what you should be doing,” said Marcus.  “The country should be producing semiconductor chips,” he noted.  “Chips are involved in virtually everything we do.”

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