Xencor Opens $40M Lab

Xencor Opens $40M Lab
Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo, Xencor’s President and CEO Bassil Dahiyat and L.A. County Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger

Local biotech company Xencor Inc. has opened a major new research and development lab next to its recently relocated headquarters in Pasadena.

It cost roughly $40 million over 13 months to build out 83,000 square feet of space at 465 North Halstead Street, which includes about 31,000 square feet of exclusive lab space and 52,000 square feet of “collaborative” and office space.

The company relocated its headquarters and lab space to the building in March from its longtime 48,000-square-foot headquarters and lab facility in Monrovia; a formal ribbon-cutting took place late last month.

Xencor’s President and CEO, Bassil Dahiyat, at the debut of his company’s new R&D center. (Photo by Ringo Chiu)

“Xencor had reached limitations in our existing laboratory (in Monrovia),” said Bassil Dahiyat, the company’s chief executive. “We were able to reimagine and build a larger laboratory in Pasadena that will promote more operational efficiency and the ability to be more productive and creative across the organization.”

According to Xencor’s most recent annual report, the company actually leased a total of nearly 130,000 square foot in the Halstead Street building; the remaining 47,000 square feet has been set aside for a second phase of buildout.

Xencor is developing engineered antibodies and cytokines for the treatment of patients with cancer and autoimmune diseases. This platform makes small changes to a protein’s structure that can then be used to target and kill tumor cells. The company has a pipeline of more than 20 drug candidates using this antibody-cytokine platform.

Xencor’s new R&D laboratory. (Photo by Ringo Chiu)

The company has or has had several joint-marketing and research collaboration arrangements with pharma giants including Novartis and Genentech (a unit of Roche Holdings), both based in Basel, Switzerland, as well as Thousand Oaks-based Amgen Inc. 

The ultimate aim of Xencor’s drug programs and its collaborations is to devise immunotherapies that are more easily tolerated by patients.

“Xencor has built a suite of protein engineering tools internally over the last 25 years,” Dahiyat said. “Now, we are taking several approaches to create targeted immunotherapies with new mechanisms of anti-tumor action, enabling potential treatments that are more easily managed by patients and with higher success rates compared to currently available immunotherapies.”

Besides the new headquarters, lab and office space in Pasadena, Xencor is also leasing 23,500 square feet in a building in San Diego’s Del Mar Heights neighborhood. According to the annual report, that lease expires at the end of this year; the company has not given any indication as to whether it will extend the lease.

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Howard Fine
Howard Fine is a 23-year veteran of the Los Angeles Business Journal. He covers stories pertaining to healthcare, biomedicine, energy, engineering, construction, and infrastructure. He has won several awards, including Best Body of Work for a single reporter from the Alliance of Area Business Publishers and Distinguished Journalist of the Year from the Society of Professional Journalists.

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