[caption id="attachment_95979" align="aligncenter" width="500"] BioMarin Pharmaceutical plans to bring in 200 employees initially to work in this new San Rafael laboratory, shown in an architectural rendering. (credit: DGA)[/caption]

SAN RAFAEL -- BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Inc. (Nasdaq: BMRN), is breaking ground on a three-story building at its headquarters campus that will become key to the fast-growing company's pipeline of treatments for rare diseases and disorders.

The new research-and-development laboratory, set for completion in fall of next year, will be home to about 200 employees initially, coming from other BioMarin facilities, plus room for more, according to spokeswoman Debra Charlesworth. The company already has around 400 employees at the San Rafael headquarters, 1,000 in Marin County overall and 1,300 worldwide.

"We are committed to Marin County and being here over the long term," Ms. Charlesworth said. "We're a major employer, and we're growing."

The company has five approved drugs, three in phase 3 clinical testing -- a final step before pursuing regulatory approvals -- two treatments in earlier stages of development and two planned to enter development.

The latest approved treatment is Vimizim, which treats Morquio A disorder, a hereditary metabolic disease that affects the development of a child's body and impacts about 800 in the U.S. alone. The treatment received a green light for sales in the U.S. and Europe earlier this year.

Sales of Vimizim in the first half of this year were $15.2 million, according to BioMarin's second-quarter financial report, released Thursday. Overall revenue was $191.7 million for the quarter, ended June 30, and $343.3 million for the first half, year-over-year increases of 40.1 percent and nearly 30 percent, respectively.

Sales of BioMarin's lead drug, Naglazyme, increased 40.6 percent to $98.3 percent in the second quarter and 28.1 percent to $178.4 million in the first half.

BioMarin (415-506-6700, bmrn.com) is still in the red, but operational income figures have moved to the black. Second-quarter net loss expanded over 12 months to $33.5 million, or 23 cents a diluted share, from $21.5 million, or 16 cents a share, but proforma (non-GAAP) income was $10.8 million for the quarter, or 6 cents a share. For the first half, net loss grew to $71.6 million, or 50 cents a diluted share, from $61.3 million, or 46 cents a share, compared with proforma income of $9.1 million, or 5 cents a diluted share, up from a proforma loss of $8.0 million, or 6 cents a share.

BioMarin has been expanding its real estate locally and abroad. Early this year, it purchased San Rafael Corporate Center for $116.5 million. The property currently has 315,000 square feet of office space in four existing office buildings plus a 400-space parking garage. The company also occupies office space in Novato in addition to its main production plant there.

Work is progressing to open a manufacturing facility in Ireland. The expectation is that it will begin production in 2017, according to Ms. Charlesworth.

BioMarin relocated its headquarters to the property in late 2012 from Novato and currently occupies about 40 percent of the existing space, including all of one building and much of another. The company plans to expand into the rest of the existing buildings as tenant leases expire, according to Ms. Charlesworth.

A ground-breaking ceremony is set for Friday morning at 10 a.m. for the forthcoming 85,000-square-foot R&D building and a six-floor, 650-space parking garage on San Rafael Corporate Center's remaining 5.5 acres of land at the southwest corner of Second Street and Lincoln Avenue. The cost of the project wasn't disclosed.

The project team includes general contractor DPR Construction; Novato-based CSW/Stuber-Stroeh Engineering Group for civil engineering; Canada-based Exp for mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering; and KPW Structural Engineers of Oakland; and DG Architects (DGA).New BioMarin lab to make ‘dreams’ possibleAugust 1, 2014

NOVATO -- A highlight of Friday morning’s ground-breaking ceremony for BioMarin Pharmaceutical’s 85,000-square-foot new research-and-development laboratory at the San Rafael headquarters campus was the emotional testimony of a patient in one of the company’s clinical trials who said the treatment for his rare disease helped him avoid debilitating developmental mental and other conditions. [read more]