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The Boston Globe

Business

Ariad shrinks size of footprint in Kendall Sq.

Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. will sublease 170,000 square feet of space at the site that will become its new headquarters and laboratory campus in Kendall Square, while business and government officials are working to woo the global health care giant Baxter International Inc. to another site in the Cambridge neighborhood.

Ariad, a maker of cancer drugs, signed a 15-year lease in January 2013 to occupy about 370,000 square feet at the two-building Alexandria Center, under construction at 75 and 125 Binney St. But the company’s plans changed after it was forced last fall to temporarily pull Iclusig, its leukemia drug, from the US market, due to safety concerns. Ariad has resumed selling the drug, but to a narrower patient population, limiting the potential revenue that it can expect to generate.

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“Given our current size and projected future growth, we now anticipate requiring less space than we had initially planned for,” spokeswoman Liza Heapes said Wednesday.

“Along with our commercial real estate broker, we are seeking to market approximately 170,000 square feet of space in the Binney Street location, keeping approximately 200,000 square feet, which we expect will accommodate our needs as a new corporate headquarters.”

Joe Fallon, regional managing principal at Cassidy Turley, a national real estate broker hired by Ariad to market the space, said multiple parties have expressed interest in Alexandria Center but it is early in the process. Fallon did not identify potential tenants.

“This is a fantastic space,” Fallon said. “It’s right in the heart of Kendall Square, new construction suitable for lab and office use. There’s a lot of interested parties.”

Others familiar with the Kendall Square real estate market, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter, said brokers and Massachusetts life sciences officials have been talking to several companies that are seeking space in Cambridge, including Baxter, the biotech Amgen Inc., and the drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The consultants and state officials working with Baxter have dubbed their effort “Project Tiger,” because the company has yet to inform its workforce outside of Chicago.

Baxter, based in Deerfield, Ill., disclosed in March that it plans to split itself into two companies — one focused on biopharmaceuticals and the second on other medical products. Company spokeswoman Deborah Spak said Wednesday that both will be based in Illinois. She would not say whether Baxter is looking for space in Massachusetts.

“Given Baxter’s size and scope, as well as our many partnerships and collaborations, there are often rumors circulating,” Spak said. “As a matter of course, we do not comment on rumors or speculation.”

The life sciences sources said Baxter, represented by the broker Transwestern RBJ, has focused on space on 650 East Kendall St., a building next door to the Genzyme headquarters that is owned by a joint venture of Prudential Real Estate and BioMed Realty Trust. But that deal is said to hinge on a separate agreement for another cancer drug company, Aveo Pharmaceuticals Inc., to relinquish its long-term lease in the building.

Robert Weisman
can be reached at robert.weisman@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeRobW.
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