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IMCO Globally Diversifies Real Estate Portfolio with Life Sciences Assets

June 11, 2024 - Since 2020, IMCO Real Estate has steadily grown its global footprint in the life sciences sector across major innovation hubs in the US, UK and Europe. Located strategically within top-tier academic and health innovation clusters such as Boston, San Diego and Oxford/Cambridge, IMCO’s life science real estate investments align with its strategy to globally diversify the portfolio while capitalizing on the strength of the burgeoning sector.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the urgent need for medical advancements as companies raced to develop new tests, vaccines and treatments in response to the outbreak. This in turn spurred tremendous interest in the life science property sector, given the growing demand and limited available supply of suitable properties. The record pace by which researchers were able to sequence the virus and develop a vaccine is only a small example of the extraordinary advancements in scientific innovation. Such advancements continue to be applied toward discovering new treatments for unmet medical conditions which require laboratories and infrastructure to support the critical research.

The life sciences sector also benefits from significant demographic tailwinds driven by an aging population, requiring increasing innovation demands in medical research and pharmaceuticals. Advances in data sharing, technology and AI are further driving biotechnology and pharmaceutical R&D growth, with new treatments and drug therapies coming to market for existing conditions.

Through its longstanding strategic partnerships with global real estate developer Tishman Speyer, and life science investment firm Bellco Capital, IMCO committed USD$325 million to the Breakthrough Life Science Property Fund (“Breakthrough” or the “Fund”). The Fund aims to create a portfolio of Class-A life science properties through ground-up development, repositioning of non-life science assets, and acquiring existing life science assets with opportunities to enhance value. It is supported by a Scientific Advisory Committee made up of leading scientists, entrepreneurs, CEOs and venture capital investors. The Scientific Advisory Committee is unique and serves as a key differentiator, allowing the Breakthrough team to leverage expertise at the forefront of innovation, evaluate investment opportunities, tenant underwriting from a scientific perspective, as well as offering mentorship to expanding life science tenancies. The Fund’s investments focus on delivering high-performing buildings with leading sustainability features in growing life sciences markets with limited supply attributes.

IMCO experienced early success with the Fund, with its initial investment known as ‘The 105’; a state-of-the-art 264K square foot development in Boston, MA that was fully leased to Crispr Therapeutics, a gene editing specialist. Since then, IMCO has fostered a productive partnership with the Fund, completing three additional co-investments:

Torrey View (San Diego, CA, US)

IMCO committed ~US$22.7M towards a co-investment in Torrey View, increasing its presence in the US life science market. Notably, in 2023, biotechnology and pharmaceutical giant Pfizer signed a 15-year lease for 230K square feet to locate its oncology division at Torrey View representing the largest life sciences lease in the San Diego area in 2023.

Torrey View is a ground-up development project in San Diego’s Del Mar Heights submarket that offers an ideal location for life science innovation. Completed early in 2024, Torrey View boasts market-leading amenities and certifications, and is now 100% leased to tenants such as BD Biosciences, Charles River Laboratories, Actio Biosciences, Architect Therapeutics and Pfizer.

Torrey View (San Diego, CA, US): Torrey View is a 10-acre site offering best-in-class amenities and certifications, centrally located within the robust life science ecosystem of San Diego’s Del Mar Heights. Image by Breakthrough Properties.

Trinity House (Oxford, UK)

In January 2024, IMCO closed on a £17 million co-investment in Trinity House, marking its first direct real estate co-investment outside of North America. Trinity House is centrally located near Oxford University and numerous life science companies, including start-up and incubator companies spawned out of university.

Construction of Trinity House commenced in late 2023 with completion expected in late 2025. The project will deliver a state-of-the-art 214K square foot Class-A lab development in Oxford, targeting BREEAM Outstanding, Wired Platinum and WELL Gold Certifications. Trinity House represents a compelling opportunity to take advantage of a supply-demand imbalance for Class-A life science product within the ‘Golden Triangle’ life science market comprised of three cities: Oxford, Cambridge and London. Oxford boasts world-class academic talent and research productivity which has continued to drive rapid expansion of its life science ecosystem.

Trinity House (Oxford, UK): Centrally located near world-renowned Oxford University, Trinity House is a newly developed life sciences project which will offer 214,000 square feet of modern, Class-A lab space targeting BREEAM Outstanding, Wired Platinum and WELL Gold Certifications. Image Rendering by Breakthrough Properties.

Enterprise Research Campus (Boston, MA, US)

IMCO Real Estate committed a US$101 million co-investment towards the Enterprise Research Campus (“ERC”) in Boston which began construction in 2023 with completion expected by early 2026. The project covers a 14-acre mixed-use development site, approved for 900K square feet of integrated lab, hotel, conference and residential uses. The project is directly adjacent to the Harvard Business School, Harvard’s Science and Engineering Complex, the Harvard Innovation Lab and Pagliuca Harvard Life Lab. Given its proximity to universities, healthcare leaders, and Boston’s science and technology sector, the development is projected to serve numerous life science companies, incubators and social enterprises.

Enterprise Research Campus “ERC” (Boston, MA, US): Located within one of the busiest biotechnology hubs in the world, ERC is a 14-acre mixed-use development site approved for 900K square feet of lab, hotel, conference and residential uses. Image Rendering by Breakthrough Properties.

About IMCO

The Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO) manages $77.4 billion of assets on behalf of our clients. Designed exclusively to drive better investment outcomes for Ontario's broader public sector, IMCO operates under an independent, not-for-profit, cost recovery structure. We provide leading investment management services, including portfolio construction advice, better access to a diverse range of asset classes and sophisticated risk management capabilities. As one of Canada's largest institutional investors, we invest around the world and execute large transactions efficiently. Our scale gives clients access to a well-diversified global portfolio, including sought-after private and alternative asset classes. Follow us on LinkedIn and X@imcoinvest.