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Video: What's driving the boom in life sciences real estate?

JLL's Audrey Symes discusses the drivers of growth across the nation's life sciences cluster hubs.

August 25, 2020 |
Video: What's driving the boom in life sciences real estate?

The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating momentum nationwide for life sciences real estate demand, according to a recent report from JLL's Healthcare and Life Sciences team.

The report, 2020 Life Sciences Real Estate Outlook, outlines the nation's top life sciences cluster hubs (Boston and San Francisco top the list) and pinpoints emerging markets for life sciences real estate. 

Audrey Symes, Research Director, JLL Healthcare and Life Sciences, joined BD+C's David Barista on the August 6 episode of The Weekly to discuss the primary drivers of growth across the nation's life sciences cluster hubs. Watch the highlights here:


Here are highlights from JLL's 2020 Life Sciences Real Estate Outlook (text from JLL):  

Rankings of the top U.S. life sciences cluster hubs were released today in the JLL 2020 U.S. Life Sciences Outlook, which also tracks the progress of up-and-coming life science markets that are fast becoming options of choice for life science companies and investors alike. Emerging hubs are looking to real estate to boost productivity as they anticipate growth of the worldwide prescription drug market, expected to surpass $1 trillion by 2022.

Boston, San Francisco, and San Diego retained their rankings as leaders among U.S. life sciences ecosystems and top contenders for venture capital investment, capturing 70% of all venture capital (VC) investment in 2019. Boston and San Francisco also lead the other clusters significantly with respect to development, with 2.7 million square feet (MSF) and 4.0 MSF respectively under construction.

Massive infusion of venture capital is also quick to promote life sciences employment growth. In 2019, 11 of 14 cluster markets set or approached record VC funding levels, a significant positive for the reinforcement of cluster market strength, resilience and security.

New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia increased their cluster scores since 2019, reaching new peaks in venture capital funding and life sciences employment. As speed to market accelerates for many pharmaceuticals, proximity to incubators at major research institutions has also supported developing clusters such as Raleigh-Durham, Houston, and Maryland, which have attracted recent interest from developers such as ARE, Longfellow and Hines.  

Additionally, the race for development of COVID-19-related vaccines is already beginning to energize demand in pharma-heavy New Jersey, a trend that should spread to more markets as 2020 progresses.

“Each cluster has a different specialty and occupies its own point along the maturity spectrum, providing a diverse range of options for investors and occupiers alike,” said Roger Humphrey, Executive Managing Director, JLL Life Sciences. “But they do a share a major commonality.  Each cluster features a highly-educated workforce and ties to the research community, which in turn attracts a steady stream of multi-sourced investment that creates a need for institutional real estate.”

Beyond COVID-19’s recent acceleration of innovation in the life sciences industry, life-enhancing pharmaceuticals and medical devices have been increasingly sought out by Millennials reaching the peak of their earning potential and seeking personalized experiences.

And, the upcoming expiration of a suite of patents creates an opportunity for mid-tier life sciences companies to pursue new long-term profit sources. Many new products on the market and in development are curative rather than therapeutic, increasing marketing potential and overall category growth.

“Conditions are ideal for maximum profitability arising from innovative new pharmaceuticals and medical devices,” said Audrey Symes, Research Director, JLL Healthcare and Life Sciences. “Meaningful advances within the life sciences industry, such as machine learning, are creating new sources of workflow and thus real estate demand. This combination of simulative factors sets up the life sciences industry to expand at an unprecedented pace, both in terms of manufacturing and patient demand.”

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