Maybe nowhere do expertise and actual property intersect extra deeply than within the life sciences business, the place refined applied sciences are integral to tenants’ operations. The life sciences business, which was experiencing important development previous to the COVID-19 pandemic, has turn into one of the vital talked-about asset courses in latest months as firms race to determine a secure and efficient vaccine for COVID-19. This even brighter highlight on life sciences firms comes amid a historic surge in funding in biotech, pharmaceutical and medical gadget start-ups centered on the seek for modern approaches to, amongst different issues, well being points dealing with an getting old inhabitants. To be able to maintain analysis, improvement and manufacturing on tempo (and, within the case of firms growing potential COVID-19 vaccines, at an awfully accelerated tempo), life sciences firms outdated and new, in addition to homeowners and operators of life sciences lab and workplace area, are fast-tracking using current and new applied sciences.
ACCELERATED USE OF TECHNOLOGIES BY TENANTS
As our colleagues identified in July1 , the work-from-home insurance policies adopted by many firms are tough or unimaginable to use to a lot of the work performed in laboratories. Life sciences firms have subsequently more and more relied on scheduling and distant communication applied sciences to coordinate staggered calendars for on-site workers to conduct analysis and different lab actions that can’t virtually be performed from house. Laboratory-specific calendar instruments with options like native cellular purposes that permit all workers entry to real-time scheduling software program have seen extra widespread use. Some life sciences firms have additionally accelerated the combination of cloud-based knowledge platforms into ongoing analysis and operations. This motion towards remotely-accessible analysis aggregation instruments has been spurred by the pandemic, permitting researchers the flexibility to assessment and analyze knowledge from house and focus their in-lab time extra closely on actions that should be performed inside an precise laboratory.
The pandemic has additionally compelled pharmaceutical firms to confront new and disruptive challenges to conventional strategies of conducting medical trials. Many life sciences firms have needed to rapidly combine digital engagement into their medical trial protocols, utilizing telehealth applied sciences to attach with trial contributors extra broadly than ever earlier than. Fortunately the necessity for this kind of tech-based engagement was acknowledged by federal regulators early throughout the pandemic. In March 2020, the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration revealed steerage encouraging sponsors of medical trials to “consider whether or not various strategies for security assessments (e.g., telephone contact, digital go to, various location for evaluation, together with native labs or imaging facilities) may very well be applied when essential and possible.” Some business specialists consider this transition to extra tech-focused engagement would have taken a number of extra years with out the momentum ignited by the pandemic.
COVID-19 has additionally had an impression on how applied sciences are utilized in drug improvement and figuring out applicable drug purposes. Numerous firms are intensifying using synthetic intelligence (or machine studying) within the seek for a vaccine and to determine current medicine that could be repurposed for therapeutic options. AI has the potential to make knowledge assortment and evaluation considerably extra environment friendly within the context of medical trials. It additionally can be utilized to synthesize knowledge to extra quickly decide security and efficacy of drug candidates.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS FOR OWNERS AND MANAGERS
To be able to handle the extra instant impression of the COVID-19 pandemic, homeowners and managers of properties that home life sciences workplace, manufacturing and laboratory area have been in a position to apply lots of the pandemic-related options that they’ve utilized elsewhere to different asset sorts. On condition that many laboratory property are single-tenant buildings, landlords can usually cater extra particularly to a given tenant’s distinctive considerations than they may have the ability to do in multi-tenant workplace areas. However life sciences tenants are generally much less skilled than different conventional massive tenants in asset operation and administration, presenting landlords and property managers with a possibility so as to add worth by offering life sciences tenants with recommendation on the options they’ve seen work most successfully throughout the buildings they personal and handle, resembling sanitization and touchless entry applied sciences.
In the long term, some within the business see the pandemic and corresponding deal with the design and repositioning of property for all times sciences tenants as a unbroken driver towards the event of “wholesome buildings.” The top customers of life science workplace and laboratory area are more likely to be among the most highly-educated customers of actual property in any given market. For them, the administration of workplace and lab area in a sustainable and vitality environment friendly means has in lots of instances turn into an assumption or expectation, versus a “plus.” Accordingly, homeowners of life sciences property shall be onerous pressed to lease area that has not been developed utilizing environmentally-friendly merchandise and expertise. Some consider that, going ahead, a real aggressive benefit shall be discovered within the improvement of property integrating new and modern well being and wellness services and applied sciences, and this can be much more pronounced as we enter the post-COVID-19 “new regular.” Wholesome buildings with outside area and superior air filtration and air flow techniques that attract recent air, in addition to sensible humidity controls and air high quality sensors, for instance, could also be uniquely enticing to potential life sciences tenants sooner or later.
The pattern of changing current workplace or industrial area to laboratory use has additionally seen an uptick throughout the pandemic, as actual property corporations seeking to purchase or develop laboratory area search stock with college assets and worker facilities in crowded markets like Cambridge, Massachusetts and the San Francisco Bay Space. Homeowners and traders in life sciences property wanting to transform current area to lab use for biotechnology tenants should be well-versed within the design and structural wants of lab tenants. For instance, a threshold requirement for many labs is to have roughly 15-foot floor-to-ceiling clearance peak to permit for the set up of sturdy HVAC and associated energy techniques required for lab use. Lab tenants additionally typically require elevated load capability for heavy gear, the flexibility to combine chemical storage services, and vertical penetrations for risers, amongst different issues. Actual property corporations seeking to entice life sciences tenants should perceive the bodily attributes of actual property which are essential to accommodate their tenants’ and potential tenants’ mechanical and technological wants.
Because the life sciences growth continues in the true property business, homeowners and operators on this area should be attuned to how they and their tenants can harness technological options to deal with the obstacles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. To efficiently market their property to biotech, pharmaceutical and medical gadget firms, actual property builders new to the development of life sciences property should be significantly aware of this problem, as their finish customers are more likely to be extra tech-savvy than the typical shopper of actual property. Moreover, homeowners of older property hoping to reposition them as life sciences workplace or lab area should overcome a further impediment – they have to persuade potential tenants that they’ll combine new and modern applied sciences as effectively and successfully as builders of recent trendy property. As actual property homeowners, traders and operators transfer into the post-COVID-19 “new regular” with a deal with the burgeoning life sciences business, they might want to display to the market that they’ve an understanding of present points and options uniquely relevant to life sciences tenants, and understanding their purchasers’ explicit wants and the way expertise can handle these wants shall be key in doing so.
PART 6 PREVIEW
The subsequent article within the Envisioning the New Regular: Actual Property + Life Sciences sequence will discover the variation of Telehealth, a broad time period capturing technology-based methods of enabling clinicians to speak with sufferers, carry out digital exams, and join with colleagues through video conferencing platforms. It stays to be seen whether or not this shift will end in a everlasting structural change to affected person care, however it has highlighted the benefit of getting flexibility in obtainable medical workplace construction.