Shire to lease Genzyme building as part of Kendall Square expansion

The Boston Globe | By Robert Weisman
November 22, 2016

genzyme-kendalsDrug maker Shire PLC is expected to disclose Tuesday that it will lease the 343,000-square-foot Genzyme Center building in the heart of Cambridge’s Kendall Square starting in 2018, with plans to create a “rare disease innovation hub” with 1,000 employees.

The 12-year deal was negotiated over the past few months before the building — which features a 13-story atrium — was formally listed on the market, an unusual process reflecting heightened demand for Kendall Square space. Genzyme, now called Sanofi Genzyme, plans to move into a new headquarters under construction nearby.

Fast-growing Shire is now the state’s second largest biopharma employer, after Sanofi Genzyme, with more than 3,000 workers in Lexington, Cambridge, and four other communities. Chief executive Flemming Ornskov said his company is expanding so rapidly in Massachusetts that it was becoming hard to find quality space.

“Given our long-term growth plans and given that Kendall Square is a great place to be, we wanted to put a stake in the ground,” Ornskov said in an interview.

Ornskov said Shire currently is seeking to fill about 400 job openings and expects to hire even more employees in the coming years. After Genzyme moves out, he said, Shire will renovate the building to create fewer offices and an “open space culture.” The employees who move in will be a mix of new hires and current employees relocated from other sites, he said.

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