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Time is Right for Innovation in Mid-Atlantic Life Sciences Facilities 

DPR Construction’s Abhishek Dhawan Sees Opportunities for Project Owners as FDA Approvals Move Manufacturing to the Forefront

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 6, 2024 – Despite a decline in venture capital activity, life sciences construction in support of pharmaceutical research and manufacturing is primed to move forward in the Washington metropolitan area, said Abhishek Dhawan, DPR Construction’s Mid-Atlantic life sciences leader at Bisnow’s Life Sciences Summit.

“FDA approval of drugs has increased, which has helped the backlog that was created by new discoveries in 2021,” Dhawan said. “With a robust level of drug clinical trials, specifically driven by big pharma, there continues to be a need for innovation and manufacturing spaces. Planning for how these facilities will look is a conversation project owners should have now.”

From the general contractor perspective, DPR sees projects for large pharma, including CMOs, looking to expand production capacities. This includes the reorganization of current spaces and, in some cases, the relocation of certain product manufacturing to other regions with a 5–7-year growth plan.

In addition to funding coming from philanthropy, the DC region has also received above average National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding compared to other major life sciences markets. This continues to support the commercialization of innovative biomedical technologies.

“What makes the Mid-Atlantic so unique for life sciences space,” Dhawan added, “is the co-existence of both public and private organizations. It is home to NIH and other government agencies, some of the leading educational systems, and pharmaceutical companies—providing funding, a strong workforce, and market creating an ecosystem of continued growth. These are key factors that developers and tenants look at when assessing optimal development locations.”

A concern that continues to be on the forefront is the amount of money available for life sciences and biotech facilities. “Though venture capital funding has reduced by more than 40% compared to its peak levels, it certainly has not stopped. R&D spending by public and large pharma companies continues to grow,” he concluded.

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