[Update: 12:40 pm] Dendreon has been searching around Seattle for months to find a new home to accommodate its growth, and now it has made its moving plans official.
The Seattle-based biotech company (NASDAQ: DNDN) has signed a lease to take eight floors, or about 185,000 square feet of office space, at the Russell Investments Center downtown, according to Bob Mooney, who represented Dendreon in lease negotiations along with fellow managing director Hans Kemp of Jones Lang LaSalle. Dendreon has also signed a lease to move its R&D groups into the 98,000-square foot Earl Davie Building along Eastlake Avenue, occupied by ZymoGenetics before it was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb. The Puget Sound Business Journal had the story earlier this morning.
“We are pleased to confirm that Dendreon signed lease agreements to relocate our headquarters,” said Dendreon spokeswoman Tricia Larson, in an e-mail. “As the largest biotech company in Washington, this move enables us to continue to grow in Seattle as we realize our mission of transforming the lives of patients with cancer.”
Dendreon has been in hyper-growth mode since April 2009, when it showed in a pivotal clinical trial of 512 men with prostate cancer that its novel immune-booster was able to prolong lives with minimal side effects. The company raised $600 million earlier this year to manufacture and sell the product, sipuleucel-T (Provenge), globally. The company has been hiring hundreds of employees with new capabilities in areas like marketing and manufacturing-not just here in Seattle, but also at other sites in New Jersey, Georgia, and southern California.
The company has been struggling to find enough room to house all the employees it has been hiring. The company currently occupies an old building at 3005 First Avenue with 75,000 square feet; subleases another 35,000 square feet at the old Seattle P-I building along Elliott Avenue; and has another 60,000 square feet of office space nearby on Western Avenue where Isilon Systems is also located, Mooney says. If my math is correct, that means Dendreon currently occupies about 170,000 square feet spread among three buildings, and it is now moving into two buildings with about 66 percent more total capacity. The Russell building lease lasts five years, and the Earl Davie Building lease lasts 7.5, Mooney says. The company plans to start moving employees in phases as soon as this fall, Mooney says.
“They’ve had people practically sitting on top of each other, sharing conference rooms, things like that,” Mooney says.
[Update with employee headcount numbers.] Dendreon is hiring so fast it’s hard to keep track of how many employees it has at any one time. The company said it had 1,497 employees as of February 15, according to its latest annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. That’s up from 198 employees two years earlier. The company also lists 141 current job openings on its website this morning.
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