Biogen nets $592M in Boston real estate sale as cost-cutting campaign rolls on

A game of real estate musical chairs is underway in Kendall Square as Biogen hands the deed from one of its East Coast sites to office aficionado Boston Properties (BXP).

Wednesday, the Big Biotech and BXP—which bills itself as the largest publicly traded developer, owner and manager of swanky U.S. workplaces—wrapped up a $592 million sale of Biogen’s lab and life sciences property in the heart of Cambridge. 

While Biogen may be handing the deed to BXP, the drugmaker isn’t quitting the space just yet. Biogen plans to lease the entire 271,000, six-story facility through April 2028, the companies said in a release.

In tandem with the deal to sell and lease Biogen’s facility at 125 Broadway, the biotech and BXP are axing an existing lease agreement at 300 Binney Street. Last month, Biogen sought to sublease part of the site.

At the time, a company spokesperson said the sublease was "part of Biogen's overall implementation of the 'Future of Work' which is allowing us to optimize our footprint and reduce the amount of space we occupy, taking into consideration new elements such as the hybrid work model."

Now, BXP, which developed the Binney Street facility, says it's lined up a 15-year lease with a “prominent life sciences organization” at that location. The Boston Globe identified the new leasee as the Broad Institute, a joint research project between MIT and Harvard.

As for Biogen, the company has been working to slim down since earlier this year.

Back in March, Biogen telegraphed plans to “substantially eliminate” its commercial infrastructure for Aduhelm, also known as aducanumab, which has stumbled spectacularly on safety and efficacy concerns following its 2021 approval. In all, the company has laid out a cost-saving target of $1 billion, triggering layoffs, a CEO departure and more.

While Biogen’s Alzheimer’s newcomer once carried blockbuster expectations, said concerns over Aduhelm—plus questions about Biogen’s pre-approval interactions with FDA and a paralyzing Medicare coverage decision—have kept the antibody drug from making much progress past the starting gates.  

At the end of 2021, Biogen employed around 9,610 people across the globe. Come this July, however, Biogen was reported to employ 301 fewer staffers in Massachusetts versus the previous year. Specifically, the company had 2,469 staffers in MA in July, versus 2,770 last September, Biogen told the Boston Business Journal earlier this summer.