USD Discovery District UPDATE
The first project at the USD Discovery District will be three times bigger than leaders anticipated one year ago.
SAB Biotherapeutics and Alumend are the first companies to announce plans to locate at the district, which will construct two buildings to support their needs.
“The things that are going to happen here are going to have impacts across the globe,” said Rich Naser, who leads the Discovery District. “This is really a significant milestone.”
The $30.9 million project will include an 84,000-square-foot multitenant research building as well as the state’s first commercial cGMP or Current Good Manufacturing Practice biotherapeutics manufacturing facility.
“Both SAB Biotherapeutics and Alumend are bioleaders in South Dakota,” USD president Jim Abbott said. “More importantly, they are on the cutting edge in their sectors, developing and commercializing breakthrough, lifesaving solutions. They are innovators — exactly the kind of company we want to attract to the USD Discovery District.”
SAB is a clinical stage biotherapeutics company developing human antibody therapeutics. The company will occupy 41,000 square feet in the first Discovery District building with its corporate headquarters, research labs and a cGMP suite.
“We have a rather unique platform, the only one of its kind in the world,” board chairman and co-owner Eddie Hamilton said.
“These are natural products. It’s what our body would normally make and as it responds to almost any disease condition our body recognizes.”
Its lead commercial product will be a universal seasonal flu product with a clinical trial that will start later this year, he said.
“We’re really excited about that product,” Hamilton said. “These are very significant markets and we have a robust pipeline of other products.”
Alumend, Avera’s wholly owned applied research and development company, will occupy 7,500 square feet. Its scientists have developed a natural vascular scaffolding therapy to treat peripheral vascular disease.
“We are thrilled to be part of the Discovery District, which will be a catalyst for further growth in this industry,” Alumend president and CEO Ryan Hansen said, saying the company is positioned to become “a major disrupter” within its industry and is moving forward with FDA approval so it can finish human clinical trials.
The rest of the first new building will include the USD Discovery District offices and have 20,000 square feet left to lease.
The second building is 42,000 square feet and will be used by SAB as it commercializes its biotherapeutics operation.
“The Discovery District has given us the opportunity to grow. We’re at a stage we need to expand and we need to get ready for commercialization,” Hamilton said.
In four years, SAB has doubled in size. In the next 24 months the plan is to double in size again and in the next three to four years have several hundred employees at the site.
Funding for the commercialization space was made possible by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, which also will create an evergreen seed fund for future Discovery District projects.
“The significance of this development for the bioscience industry can’t be overstated,” said Joni Johnson, executive director of South Dakota Biotech, the state’s industry trade association.
“These homegrown biotech companies are going to be taking critical steps in their development here, and their success is going to lead to additional growth for our industry.”
The USD Discovery District is an 80-acre live-work-play innovation community, providing access to research facilities and infrastructure for business development, foster collaboration for new technologies and create an environment for interaction between businesses, students, researchers and entrepreneurs.
It’s a partnership consisting of USD, the city of Sioux Falls, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the South Dakota Board of Regents and the business community.
When fully developed, it’s expected to include 26 privately developed buildings, more than $314 million in facility construction and 2,800 people employed by companies in the district.
The goal is to break ground this fall and have the first building done in 2020.
The project has the capacity to attract significantly more investment from biotech companies and industries that support them.
“We are ready for you. Our door is open and that door is being built right now,” Gov. Dennis Daugaard said. “It’s a great public-private partnership and it’s example of what you can do when people work together.”