Bay Area bio-tech firm to open production plant in Bothell

Lyell Immunopharma is investing $50 million in a new manufacturing facility that will employ about 100.

BOTHELL — A San Francisco-based biotech company is investing $50 million to build a manufacturing plant in Bothell’s Canyon Park Business Center.

Lyell Immunopharma, which operates offices in the Bay Area and Seattle, develops immune cell therapies that target cancer and other diseases.

The startup was founded in 2018.

Lyell will modify two existing buildings in the business park for a 70,000 square-foot production facility.

The plant, which is scheduled for completion early next year, is expected to employ about 100. Lyell has already begun hiring for the new Bothell location on the company website and some online recruiting sites.

Stephen Hill, Lyell’s chief technical officer, said the Bothell facility will support the company’s multiple clinical programs and future manufacturing needs.

“With cell therapy manufacturing and patient tracking systems, Lyell intends to grow into a fully integrated organization that is capable of manufacturing an uninterrupted supply for patients in need of life-saving therapies,” Hill said.

The Washington State Department of Commerce worked with Economic Alliance Snohomish County to provide Lyell with a $200,000 grant from the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund.

The incentive program is competitive and can be used for workforce development, technical or planning assistance, or relocation assistance. The governor has the final say on the funds’ distribution.

State Commerce Director Lisa Brown called Lyell’s expansion “another exciting development for Washington’s world-leading cluster of research institutions and startup companies that are advancing cell-based immunotherapies for treating cancer.”

It’s expected that the $200,000 grant will be used to offset planning, engineering and other costs in support of the project.

“We were competing with San Francisco,” said Matt Smith, director of industry and resource development at Economic Alliance.

The $200,000 grant may have helped swing the deal, he said.

“Washington continues to be one of the few states that charge sales tax — 10% — on a construction project,” said Smith. The award could help offset the amount, he added.

The life science sector is the second-largest industry cluster in Snohomish County and supports 5,000 jobs, said Dom Amor, interim president and CEO of Economic Alliance.

“As Bothell implements its update of the Canyon Park Comprehensive Plan, we expect more life science companies will be attracted to the area,” said Amor. “Economic Alliance will partner with the City to recruit these companies and their skilled workforce.”

Lyell joins a growing roster of biotech companies, including Juno Therapeutics, AGC Biologics, Seattle Genetics and Lundbeck Seattle Biopharmaceuticals, (formerly Alder Biopharmaceuticals) that are headquartered or operate production facilities in the Bothell area.

Bothell Mayor Liam Olsen said the city is thrilled to add the company to the area’s life science sector.

“With support from Gov. (Jay) Inslee’s Economic Development Strategic Reserve Fund and our partners at Economic Alliance Snohomish County, Bothell is creating a new generation of jobs and fulfilling its vision of becoming a renowned life science center,” Olsen said.

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

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