After just a short time in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA, Shire likes the area so much that they are expanding to a second site at 500 Kendall Street to create a 550,000-square-foot campus focused on rare diseases. Earlier this month Shire confirmed its focus on rare diseases during an investor presentation.

“Over the last 3 years, Shire’s sharp focus has helped us build an industry leading rare disease pipeline,” said Flemming Ornskov, M.D., CEO. “Our pipeline … includes more than 40 clinical programs, over 50% of which are in registration or Phase III, and 70% of which are in rare diseases.”

The list of rare diseases that Shire is researching is extensive and includes hemophilia, von Willebrand disease, primary immunodeficiency (PI), eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), cytomegalovirus (CMV), and hereditary angioedema (HAE).

“Our deep understanding of disease and our serial innovation in strategic areas of focus have allowed us to advance molecules in some of the most difficult-to-treat and life-threatening conditions,” said Philip J. Vickers, Ph.D., global head of R&D. “Our internal innovation engine, with the help of our external partners, is driving forward a robust clinical development portfolio and enabling us to bring our medicines to patients who need them.”

According to Shire, the new 343,000 square-foot space will be used for rare disease R&D, medical affairs, business development, and other related functions. Shire is expected to occupy the building in Q1, 2019.

“By expanding our presence in Cambridge, with its close proximity to best-in-class hospitals, research institutions, universities, and a thriving biotechnology community, we will strengthen our ties with the early innovators around us to shape the next generation of breakthrough therapies for patients with high unmet needs,” said Ornskov.

Shire currently employs more than 3000 people in Massachusetts, including the creation of more than 700 new jobs in 2015 alone. The company currently occupies more than two million square feet in Massachusetts.

“I am thrilled that Shire will continue to grow in Massachusetts,” said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. “Shire’s commitment to significantly expanding its Kendall Square innovation hub is a testament to the creativity of our state’s workforce, and to the competitiveness of the Commonwealth’s economy.”

Shire has good company at its Kendall Square campus. In October, Novartis announced that it was moving R&D resources to Cambridge. The city is also home of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR), which expanded in 2015 to include a 550,000-square-foot site for labs, offices, and retail space.

In 2014, Pfizer opened a new R&D hub near Kendall Square. Said Mikael Dolsten, M.D., Ph.D., president, worldwide R&D, at the time, “Our new Kendall Square presence in Cambridge represents an important milestone in Pfizer’s approach to creating a sustainable R&D engine.”

Verily Life Sciences recently disclosed plans for a new $500 million type 2 diabetes joint venture with Sanofi, to be based in Kendall Square.

Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories recently opened its first northeastern office at the Cambridge Innovation Center. Helena Mistry, Ph.D., Northeast regional sales manager, told GEN that the new office’s location “gives us an opportunity to collaborate with new biotech companies who need a strategic partner.”

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