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Cancer Research Firm Nabs 15K-SF Prebuilt Lab Space on Far West Side


Cancer research startup HiberCell has taken lab space at Taconic Investment Partners and Silverstein Properties619 West 54th Street on the Far West Side, the landlords told Commercial Observer.

The new biotech company is the first of its kind to focus on dormant disseminated cancer cells—meaning cells that have spread from the initial tumor or cancer site—and their role in cancer relapse. HiberCell just launched with $61 million in Series A venture capital funding, from investors that included Arch Venture Partners and the city-backed NYC Life Sciences Fund.

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“Recurrence of cancer, which is the cause of many cancer deaths, is driven by dormant disseminated tumor cells that remain undetected in the body for long periods of time,” the company noted in a press release. “HiberCell is working to develop first-in-class drugs that target DTCs that originate from solid and liquid tumors.

The firm has signed a seven-year, 15,000-square-foot lease on part of the eighth floor of the 10-story building, according to sources familiar with the deal. HiberCell will be the first tenant to occupy the property’s prebuilt lab space, which is expected to span 112,000 square feet across the seventh through 10th floors. Asking rent in the transaction was in the high-$80s per square foot.

“We are very pleased with the vision and strategic design of our state-of-the-art headquarters within the Hudson Research Center on Manhattan’s west side,” said Alan Rigby, the co-founder and president at HiberCell, in prepared remarks. “This new life science hub is well positioned to provide needed space for the growing life science, biotechnology sector within Manhattan.”

Taconic and Silverstein expect to build out the labs at a cost of $500 a square foot, or $50 million, over the next two years. The landlords will finish construction on HiberCell’s space in April and are working on the design for the remainder of the prebuilt labs with Perkins + Will. The 326,000-square-foot property was recently rebranded as the Hudson Research Center in an effort to draw biotech tenants. The prebuilt, “plug-and-play” labs aim to fill a much-needed niche for space that can accommodate early-stage life science tenants, as CO has previously reported.   

“If a tenant like this didn’t have the right lab space they would have moved to one of those other life science hubs [in Boston or San Francisco],” said Taconic Senior Vice President Matthew Weir. “HiberCell was a test case to test the market for early stage biotech companies.”  

Other tenants in the 650,000-square-foot building between 11th Avenue and the West Side Highway include the New York Stem Cell Foundation, Manhattan Surgery Center, the Rogosin Institute and RK Bridal, which has a showroom on the fifth floor.

HiberCell was represented by Adam Leshowitz and David Stockel of CBRE while the landlord was represented by CBRE’s Steve Purpura, Jonathan Schifrin and Alessio Tropeano.

Purpura said in a statement that Taconic and Silverstein’s “speculative investment is providing real estate solutions for the rapidly growing biotech companies that want to be innovating, not designing and building out spaces. This approach is critical to keeping companies like Hibercell in NYC.”