North Bay Business Journal

Monday, December 30, 2013, 1:35 pm

BioMarin to buy San Rafael complex for $116 million

Plans to construct lab building in San Rafael


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    770 and 790 Lindaro St., San Rafael - San Rafael Corporate Center - Seagate Properties

    BioMarin Pharmaceutical occupies these two buildings at San Rafael Corporate Center. The company plans to buy the complex, which has two other buildings and approved plans for a third. (image credit: Seagate Properties)

    SAN RAFAEL — BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Inc. (Nasdaq: BMRN) made a big signal toward its future plans for its Marin County base of operations when it agreed to pay $116.5 million to purchase the four-building San Rafael Corporate Center complex where the creator of treatments for rare childhood diseases moved its headquarters just over a year ago.

    Currently occupying 40 percent of the existing office space, or 120,400 square feet in two buildings, BioMarin subsidiary California Corporate Center Acquisition, LLC, on Dec. 17 agreed to buy the development from SR Corporate Center Phase One, LLC, and SR Corporate Center Phase Two, LLC, according to a BioMarin regulatory filing. The ownership is a joint venture of San Rafael-based Seagate Properties and J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

    The sale is set for completion Jan. 22, but the goal is to close it sooner, according to a spokeswoman.

    “We’re really committed to being in Marin County,” Debra Charlesworth said.

    BioMarin will honor leases with existing tenants and evaluate renewals on a case-by-case basis, she said.

    BioMarin in December 2011 signed 10-year leases for all of 770 Lindaro St. and two floors of 790 Lindaro at San Rafael Corporate Center. In September 2012, BioMarin moved 345 research-and-development and administrative jobs from its Novato production plant to San Rafael.

    San Rafael Corporate Center, first developed in 2001, has approvals for a fifth and final building, with 85,000 square feet of space on four floors at 791 Lincoln. A second parking structure also is part of the plan.

    BioMarin expands in San Rafael, upgrades in Novato

    In December, BioMarin submitted plans to the city for another building, a 40,000-square-foot, two-story laboratory building with parking on the ground floor, that would be built next to the existing parking garage, according to Ms. Charlesworth. The second parking garage also would be built.

    BioMarin employs 1,300 worldwide, with nearly 1,100 in Marin. The company has a small office in Brisbane and production plant in Ireland. The company is awaiting Food & Drug Administration approval for its Vimizim treatment of Morquio A syndrome, also called Mucopolysaccharidosis Type 4A (MPS IVA). Construction at the Ireland plant is set to begin this year.

    Currently, the treatment is made in Novato, and production capacity there is projected to meet commercial needs through 2017, according to Ms. Charlesworth.

    The company has made “significant” efficiency upgrades to the Novato plant. Those include building a natural gas-fired electrical plant to provide energy independently from the grid and adding 15,000 square feet of lab space by converting one floor of a the research-and-development building to labs and expanding another building for labs.

    Currently, the investigational enzyme-replacement therapy is made at the Novato plant, but that is set to move to Ireland upon approval, Ms. Charlesworth said. The FDA in November said it plans to decide on that approval by Feb. 28.

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