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The Wistar Institute is teaming up with University Place Associates to create a “research and discovery hub” in the University City

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By John George and Natalie Kostelni  –  Philadelphia Business Journal

The Wistar Institute is teaming up with University Place Associates to create a “research and discovery hub” in the University City section of Philadelphia.

The 240,000-square-foot building, to be built by UPA at an estimated cost of $100 million, will facilitate collaborations among Wistar and the region’s academic research and biotechnology start-up communities.

The building at 4101 Market St., called 3.0 University Place, will feature lab and office space and shared resource capacity. Wistar expects to take space in the new building and will collaborate with UPA on determining specific components of the project

Dr. Dario C. Altieri, Wistar’s president and CEO, said he expects the building will enable the institute to expand existing partnerships and facilitate new collaborations essential to changing the future of health care. “Early stage discovery science requires both patience and urgency,” Altieri said. “Extending our reach through this state-of-the-art facility in University City District will foster Wistar’s ability to work more closely and effectively with collaborators and potentiate the discovery process to accelerate critical innovation.”

UPA, a Philadelphia real estate company, has had a presence in University City since 2013 when it developed University Place 2.0, a 97,000-square-foot office building at 30 N. 40th St. that was sold in 2016 for $41.25 million. UPA has tried get its next project off the ground ever since.

Last year, it rebooted with its proposed 3.0 University Place project and the idea to create what it dubbed the Platinum Corridor. That vision involves developing five parcels in six phases, totaling 1.5 million square feet of office, coworking and R&D space as well as 156,000 square feet of retail. Wistar’s involvement as a collaboration partner is a big step in making that corridor come to fruition.  

“We are humbled and excited to be working with this very special giant of life-saving scientific research,” said Scott Mazo, founder and CEO of UPA, commenting on Wistar’s involvement.

Heather A. Steinman, Wistar’s vice president for business development, said the aim of the institute’s collaborations — including its new one with UPA — is “to empower start-ups and biotech partners alike” to access key resources that are critical for the translation of discoveries into products that change patients’ lives. “We will work together [with UPA] to shape a vision that supports the region’s life sciences activities and addresses the community’s needs,” Steinman said.

Steinman said the two organization first started discussing a collaboration last year after UPA agreed to be a sponsor for a Wistar research consortium event.

Wistar, an independent biomedical research organization founded in 1892, and UPA are now working out specific space commitments, the number of floors and other management details for their partnership and the new building, which is expected to be ready for occupancy in early 2021.

Image: A rendering of 3.0 University Place COURTESY THE SHEWARD PARTNERSHIP