The cell therapy company entered into a 10-year lease agreement for the 180,000-square-foot site in 2009. The agreement, which was due to expire at the end of this year, featured five renewal terms of five years each.
Dendreon, having bounced back from bankruptcy to be acquired for $868m (€773m) by Nanjing Xinbai last year, is now due to stay at Seal Beach until 2030, giving it ongoing access to the Southern California biopharma talent pool.
The Seal Beach site houses Dendreon’s corporate headquarters and a cell therapy production plant, employing approximately 190 people.
There are no immediate plans to add to that number now the future of the site is secured but that may change once Dendreon sees data from a trial assessing whether its approved cell therapy, Provenge (sipuleucel-T), can help men with lower-risk prostate cancer keep the disease at bay.
When the trial reports topline data in 2023, it could enable Dendreon to expand the Provenge label beyond metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer and into the larger pool of patients with low-risk forms of the disease.
“This could significantly increase the number of treatments produced by our [immunotherapy manufacturing facilities] and may require expansion of both our Seal Beach and Union City facilities,” a spokesperson for Dendreon told us.
The Union City facility, on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, could be the next Dendreon location to be the subject of a lease renewal.
Striking property deals
In recent months, Dendreon has extended the leases on its Seal Beach facility, as well as on its Seattle office and laboratory space. The Seattle extension clears Dendreon to stay at the site until 2031, which allowed it to invest in the renovation of the 75,000-square-foot location.
Those back-to-back deals secured the futures of two of Dendreon’s three US sites. Regulatory filings released when Dendreon traded on Nasdaq show the lease on the third US site in Union City is due to expire in August 2020.
This suggests Dendreon is approaching the point at which it will either need to extend the lease on the Union City site or move out of the facility.
Asked whether the lease is due to expire next year and, if so, whether it plans to renew it, Dendreon issued the following response: “We are unable to comment on ongoing business negotiations.”
The Union City site has been part of Dendreon through its turbulent history, during which it struggled to curb the cost of Provenge production before investing in automation.
With those investments made and potential for capacity requirements to increase after the 2023 readout, there are reasons to think Dendreon will want to keep its current manufacturing network in place.