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Bayer closing down San Francisco analysis hub as consideration turns to Berkeley plan – Endpoints Information

Bayer is saying goodbye to a long-standing research center in San Francisco, centralizing US activities in the Boston area and possibly leaving several biotechs homeless in its incubator.

The German pharmaceutical giant will close the “innovation center” and the CoLaborator incubator before its lease expires in October, a Bayer spokesman told Endpoints. The San Francisco site, which was once the central location for Bayer’s US plans, will be closed after more than a decade.

Since Bayer announced last year that it would “evaluate” various options for the site, Bayer has shrunk its workforce in San Francisco to fewer than 20, the spokesman said. These employees are “encouraged” to apply for other positions at Bayer, including a location in Berkeley, California with more than 100 vacancies.

“We communicated this decision with the employees in April in order to offer them the longest possible runway for their next career steps,” said the spokesman for Endpoints in an email. “We understand that not everyone may find their next position at Bayer, and in that case the company will offer its standard severance and placement services.”

For the biotechs with branches at the site, Bayer will work to relocate them to “future locations of their choice,” added the spokesman. There are currently 10 companies either headquartered in Mission Bay or using offices on-site, including Swiss biotech company CRISPR Therapeutics.

Bayer opened the hub back in 2010, starting with around 65 researchers in a former Pfizer room near UC-San Francisco. In 2012 Bayer started its incubator in San Francisco with partner locations in Berlin, Moscow, West Sacramento, CA and Kobe, Japan.

The incubator originally had 6,000 square feet of office space, but Bayer has expanded that space to 30,000 in recent years.

Bayer is moving after the drug maker once tried to expand its San Francisco hub but secured more office space. According to a report in the San Francisco Business Times, nearby Silicon Valley tech companies like Uber and Square all took up prime space while setting up their own stores in the early 2010s.

As a result, Bayer shifted its focus to Berkeley, California, and recently asked the city for a 30-year “master plan” that includes approximately 1 million square feet and an additional 1,000 employees over the next three decades. The site has pumped out three hemophilia A treatments for global distribution, but Bayer is looking to advance its cell and gene therapy, including gene therapy for the blood disease.

Further efforts are likely to be made at the Berkeley site, and Bayer has increased its pipeline in recent months. In October Bayer had already committed up to 4 billion US dollars for the takeover of the gene therapy pioneer Asklepios, better known as AskBio. And in December, the drug maker set up a cell and gene therapy platform to bring all related projects under one roof so that executives can close more deals.

Further tenants from Bayer in the Incubator in San Francisco are Atlay Therapeutics, BioGraph 55, Cairn Biosciences, Coagulant Therapeutics, DNALite Therapeutics, Explora BioLabs, Mantra Bio, ProLynx and Xcell Biosciences.

This article has been updated with a comment from Bayer.

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