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Penn leases 150,000 SF at Discovery Labs in KoP

June 2, 2021

Source, Philadelphia Business Journal, Natalie Kostelni

The University of Pennsylvania has signed a lease on 150,000 square feet at Discovery Labs in King of Prussia and will use the space for its gene therapy program.

The space is in two buildings off Swedeland Road in what had been previously built and used by GlaxoSmithKline and later sold to MLP Ventures, a Radnor real estate company that is marketing the campus to life sciences and related tenants.

Two floors of the space will be used to expand Penn Vector Core. Vectors are used to deliver gene therapies in patients with conditions resulting from missing or malfunctioning genes.

Led by gene therapy expert Dr. James M. Wilson, Penn’s gene therapy program has been responsible for breakthrough therapies for a variety of disorders. In early 2019, The National Institutes of Health renewed a five-year contract with Penn’s gene therapy program and was awarded $13 million to support the advancement of gene-therapy research at the clinic.

The contract was provided by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to what operates as the Gene Therapy Program Preclinical Vector Core in the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn. The contract supports preclinical vector production, analytics, and immunology services the Core provides to approved scientific investigators from Penn and other institutions.

In addition, it will use the new King of Prussia space for gene therapy research including submitting investigational new drug applications for clinical trials and other related processes.

“The past few years have been a pivotal time in the development of gene therapies, and our new space at Discovery Labs will propel us even further in charting the future of the field,” Wilson said in a statement. “With additional state-of-the-art equipment and increased operational capabilities, we are well-positioned to enhance the design and execution of our innovative, transformative therapies.”

MLP was represented in-house by Joe Corcoran and Julian O Neill. Penn was represented by Joe Fetterman of Colliers International.

MLP Ventures’ Discovery Labs totals roughly 1.6 million square feet including the former GSK space and buildings it owns in the Renaissance Corporate Center. The company plans to add to that by converting a nearby 660,000-square-foot former Philadelphia Inquirer printing plant into life sciences research and manufacturing space.