BeiGene has broken ground on a new manufacturing and clinical R&D center on the former Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) campus.
An official groundbreaking ceremony was held on April 29 at the Princeton West Innovation Park in Hopewell.
State, county and township officials gathered with BeiGene leadership to break ground on what will include a 400,000-square-foot facility in the initial phase of construction for commercial-stage biologic pharmaceutical manufacturing space.
“This is a huge day for Hopewell Township and the State of New Jersey to welcome BeiGene here,” Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning said to the Hopewell Valley News. “They are not only bringing jobs; I can’t say enough about the cancer treatments that they are bringing to New Jersey. We are hopeful for the former BMS campus. We welcomed PTC Therapeutics and Passage Bio and now BeiGene. We are well on our way to fully reoccupying the former BMS campus.”
For BeiGene, a biotechnology company that specializes in developing drugs for cancer treatments, the facility will sit on 42 acres at 311 Pennington Rocky Hill Road.
“We worked with BeiGene closely every step of the way. I want residents to know we are doing everything we can mitigate the impact on their taxes when BMS left,” Peters-Manning said. “We all felt that pinch and [BeiGene] will be a big step in getting us back to where we were before. We are manufacturing high tech cancer treatments in Hopewell Township. It is good for taxes, the environment and our health.”
The new center will help BeiGene diversify its manufacturing needs and support the company’s global supply chain, according to the company.
“One of the most distressing pieces of news municipal officials can get is that one of their anchor employers has chosen to leave and go elsewhere,” Mercer County Commissioner Kristin McLaughlin said. “So many municipalities and taxpayers have suffered because they were not able to repopulate those former sites. To have a company as strong and with as much growth potential as BeiGene to come to Hopewell Township is exciting for so many reasons.”
She added that it is an endorsement of employees and the quality of life offered to those locating to Hopewell Township.
“It is a true benefit to the taxpayers of both Hopewell and Mercer County, because not only will this company grow and create revenue, all the folks that they employ will be buying dinners out and shopping in our grocery stores and putting their children in our schools,” McLaughlin said.
During the groundbreaking ceremony, John V. Oyler, co-founder, chairman and CEO of BeiGene, said in his remarks that the new center is a big step in BeiGene’s global and U.S. expansion.
“The shared vision that you folks have in creating a thriving life sciences sector and the incredible talent in the region are the major factors that we decided to be here at the Princeton West Innovation Campus in Hopewell,” he said. “This a culmination of years of work and now we are breaking ground on the flagship on the U.S. R&D (research and development) manufacturing center.”
Oyler stressed that number of deaths BeiGene sees from cancer alone in New Jersey is similar to the population in Hopewell Township. According to the American Cancer Society, the organization estimates 15,710 deaths in New Jersey from cancer during 2022.
“The initial construction of the Hopewell R&D and manufacturing will include 400,00 square feet of biologic manufacturing space, which will make it one of the largest bio-pharm projects in the U.S.,” he added. “It will have A.I and state-of-the-art virtual capabilities that will make it one of the most advanced facilities of its kind anywhere in the world. It is also including labs for late-stage research and development of cancer medicines and office space.”
According to the company, during November 2021, BeiGene had acquired the property for the new center and potential expansion from Lincoln Equities Group. BeiGene then hired DPR Construction as its construction management firm and IPS as its architectural and engineering firm.
There is more than 1 million square feet of developable real estate for future potential expansion on the property.
“We wear your presence in our state as a badge of honor. We have a particular strength in the innovation economy,” Gov. Phil Murphy said in his remarks. “We are a state of innovation and opportunity in so many respects. By coming to Hopewell you have won governmental lottery, if I may say so. You have an extraordinary mayor, a congresswoman as good as there is in the land, and you have a county executive and county that works really well.”