Berkeley biotechnology company Aduro Biotech recently leased a former warehouse in West Berkeley to be used as a laboratory and office facility.
According to a federal document, Aduro entered the lease Sept. 11, and the lease is expected to begin in June 2016 and last 12 years. The lease term could be extended by a maximum of two terms, each lasting five years.
“We believe it is critically important for all of our employees to be under one roof to foster development and collaboration, and this new space will facilitate that objective for the foreseeable future,” said Aduro spokesperson Bianca Nery in an email.
According to city spokesperson Matthai Chakko, the area in which Aduro will be taking up residence is “one of the largest concentrations of biotech companies in the world.” Aduro has played a large part in this development, Chakko said.
Aduro uses its technology — based on utilizing the body’s own immune system — to perform cancer research. It has three products in human trials. The company is currently located on Bancroft Way with approximately 80 employees, with 24 people in the Netherlands expected to join the company in the near future. The new facility will be able to hold about 400 employees.
The new four-story building, located at 740 Heinz Ave., used to be a warehouse. It was redeveloped by Wareham Development as part of West Berkeley’s Aquatic Park Center, a campus devoted to research and development that is already home to many other life science companies.
According to Andrew Neilly — a partner of Gallen Neilly & Associates, a company that manages Wareham Development’s publicity — the project had originally begun without any specific tenant in mind, but the building is now “fully committed to a single tenant”: Aduro.
The news of Aduro’s move has been met with positive responses from members of the Berkeley community despite the fact that the facility is a redeveloped historical structure.
“(Aduro’s) contribution to society and to cancer research is disproportionately positive over any negative that one might feel for taking over a landmark building,” said Kirsten MacDonald, director of operations at the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce.
Amy Ferber — owner of the Wooden Duck, a furniture store near the former warehouse — said she anticipates Aduro’s local presence could be beneficial for surrounding businesses.
“I think it’ll probably be great for the community, from the business perspective, to have all those people adding to the business flow of Berkeley,” Ferber said.
Nery said in an email that Aduro hopes to expand the current internship program it has offered to UC Berkeley students to its new location and will continue to use the campus as a “deep talent pool source” for the company.