Sanofi blueprints hefty new Boston HQ with massive lease at Cambridge Crossing

Sanofi has leased 900,000 square feet in a new Boston development called Cambridge Crossing. (Steelblue)

Sanofi has picked the spot for its Massachusetts headquarters, once again planting its flag squarely in the Kendall Square neighborhood that's the epicenter of biotech on the East Coast.

The French drugmaker inked a deal to anchor a new development in East Cambridge dubbed Cambridge Crossing, just a short walk from Sanofi Genzyme's current home base on Kendall Square itself. The move will bring together 2,700 employees scattered around the state to two buildings on the new site, 900,000 square feet in all, a spokeswoman said.

Cambridge Crossing, self-described as "what bravery would look like if bravery were a place," is a new 45-acre mixed-use development connected to Kendall Square. The site will feature lab space plus 11 acres of parks, housing and more. Healthcare firm Philips North America plans to move its U.S. headquarters there, as well. Aside from tech and lab space, the development will feature 2,400 residential units and 100,000 square feet of retail and dining space.

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Sanofi employees in R&D, medical, commercial and global operations can look forward to the new digs, where they can collaborate more easily with not only their co-workers but industry colleagues—and potential partners—in the booming Boston biopharma ecosystem. Boston is rated a top life sciences cluster globally and Sanofi's Genzyme has long contributed to the region's knowledge base and standing.

In a statement, Sanofi Genzyme EVP Bill Sibold said the site “will further anchor us in this unique ecosystem of innovators for years to come.” He called the move a “critical investment” and said it’ll “allow us to reimagine the way we work together to develop transformative treatments for patients.”

Sanofi has 5,000 employees in Massachusetts, making it the largest life sciences employer in the state, the company said. The Boston Globe reports Sanofi’s lease is the biggest signed by a drugmaker in Boston since Vertex snapped up 1.1 million square feet in the city in 2011.

Sanofi’s lease comes shortly after the Globe reported Sanofi was eying a big expansion in Cambridge for its Genzyme unit; the actual move ended up being larger than the reported figure. Previously, the Globe reported the company was searching for 400,000 square feet for about 2,000 employees.

Sanofi is far from the only drugmaker to commit to the Boston area in a big way. Recently, Takeda said it would centralize its U.S. headquarters there, affecting 1,000 employees in suburban Chicago, where the company previously based its U.S. operations. Some employees will receive relocation offers in the move, a Takeda spokesperson said. Other drugmakers including Biogen and Pfizer are either headquartered or have significant operations in Boston.

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