Lilly’s San Diego Biotechnology Center of Silence

12/17/08Follow @bvbigelow

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a 10-year lease for a two-story, 125,000-square-foot life sciences facility, according to the landlord, San Diego’s Veralliance Properties. Veralliance says it plans to renovate an existing building for Lilly, stripping the façade to its steel structure and rebuilding it as an ultramodern facility using environmentally friendly construction and design techniques.

It sounds impressive. “In addition to constructing a new translucent green glass curtain wall providing floor to ceiling glass for all new tenants,” the release says, “the project will include a two-story atrium entrance with a “pass through” lobby leading to a two-story spiral staircase.”

Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. But Lilly is expected to move into the building in March, after the renovation is completed, said Brent Jacobs of Cushman & Wakefield’s Life Science Group, which represented Lilly in the deal.

Lilly, however, has maintained radio silence about its San Diego activities since August, when the company said it had closed its SGX deal. A Lilly spokesman at the company’s headquarters in Indianapolis did not respond to repeated telephone calls or emails inquiring about the SGX layoffs or other plans Lilly has in San Diego.

Lilly appears to be hiring, judging by its online employment ads for “research associate molecular biologist, executive administrative assistant,” and other jobs. Bumol, who also oversees Lilly’s AME subsidiary in San Diego, was quoted in the statement issued by Veralliance as saying Lilly is “excited to combine both AME and its recently acquired SGX Pharmaceuticals into this location as part of the west coast Biotechnology Center of Excellence we are creating.” But what, exactly, will this Biotechnology Center of Excellence do? How many people will be employed there? Bumol did not respond to an email earlier this week.

A spokesman for Biocom, San Diego’s life sciences industry group, says Lilly never responded to inquiries he made in September about promoting the new San Diego Biotechnology Center of Excellence. That one seems especially odd, because Lilly is a dues-paying member of Biocom. But, hey, if they’re not talking, they’re not talking.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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