Monday, August 30, 2021

Umoja Leasing 146,000 Square Feet near Boulder for CAR-T Manufacturing

By David Gross

Seattle-based Umoja raised a $210 series B last quarter, the largest venture round this year outside of Boston, the Bay Area, and San Diego.  The immuno-oncology company announced today that is expanding into Louisville, Colorado, near Boulder, where it has broken ground on a new manufacturing facility.

Immuno-oncology and CAR-T developers tend to consume a lot of high rent space for clinical manufacturing.  Umoja, however, is creating an in vivo therapeutic approach to I-O that is intended to reduce manufacturing requirements relative to standard ex-vivo approaches.   Nonetheless, there are still viral vectors and other components they will need to produce in a standard GMP manufacturing environment.

According to documents filed with Louisville economic development authorities, Umoja will spend $44 million on tenant improvements to outfit the space, with the expectation of laying out a total of $70 million of capital expenditures over the first five years of operation.  The company is receiving tax abatements from the city as an incentive to move.  In return, it is expected to hire 100 people at the facility as well generate sales and use tax from the equipment purchased with the capital dollars mentioned above. 

CAR-T and CAR-NK companies are important to life sciences economic development and real estate not only due to the large amounts of space they require for clinical manufacturing, but also because they tend to locate these manufacturing sites in a high rent areas at or near HQ.   Companies such as Vor, Senti, Artiva, and Nkarta have all expanded CAR-T or CAR-NK facilities in Boston, San Diego, and the Bay Area recently.  Umoja could have found comparable industrial space around Seattle to the property its leasing in Boulder, so this is a significant development for Colorado’s life science industry.

The property is located at 725 Tech Court in Louisville, a recently developed building in the Colorado Tech Center.  Cannabis provider Charlotte’s Web’s production facility is located across the street.  

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