Eli Lilly said today it will add 30,000 square feet of space and about 50 new jobs to its R&D site in New York City, at the Alexandria Center™ for Life Science.

Lilly said the expansion will allow it to strengthen its relationships with local academic institutions and prominent medical schools. When completed next year, the new space will include a translational immuno-oncology hub and a Lilly “portal” designed to promote collaboration by allowing local academic scientists access to drug discovery capabilities, including chemistry and lead optimization expertise.

“We are prepared to push the boundaries to accelerate drug discovery,” Jan Lundberg, Ph.D., EVP of science and technology and president of Lilly Research Laboratories, said in a statement. “Our expanded capabilities at the New York site will further Lilly's expertise in our core therapeutic areas and help pave the way for broader collaboration with leading academic, health care and industry colleagues.”

Lilly's key therapeutic areas include oncology, diabetes and related complications, neurodegeneration, immunology and pain.

Lilly opened a 90,000-square-foot office/laboratory site for 140 scientists at the Alexandria Center site in 2010, two years after the company entered the New York metropolitan area through the acquisition of ImClone. Lilly retains a manufacturing and clinical development center in Bridgewater, NJ.

Lilly's plans for the Alexandria Center mark the pharma’s third strategic R&D expansion this year, with the goal of promoting both internal and external collaborations. In July, Lilly announced plans to expand its staff and space in San Diego, at its Lilly Biotechnology Center. Two months earlier, Lilly said it will establish the Lilly Cambridge Innovation Center in Cambridge, MA, to focus on new drug delivery and device approaches.

The Alexandria Center is named for its developer and owner, the publicly-traded Alexandria Real Estate Equities. The 730,000-square-foot urban campus features an Apella™ digital conference and event center; a restaurant opened by celebrity chef Tom Colicchio; a casual café; a fitness center; a waterfront esplanade, and even an urban farm.

Lilly is one of several pharma giants at the Alexandria Center in New York; Pfizer and Roche also occupy space at the campus.

Also at the campus is Accelerator Corp., the life sciences investment and management firm whose investors include Lilly, Pfizer Venture Investments, and Johnson & Johnson Innovation. Accelerator on September 29 said two other drug developers, AbbVie and WuXi PharmaTech, were among new investors enabling it to raise an additional $11.7 million to close an oversubscribed $62.8 million financing round.