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Doctor Who Sold Drug Firm for $12 Billion Eyes Biotech Property

UCLA-based cancer researcher Arie Belldegrun’s family office entered a joint venture with Tishman Speyer to start Breakthrough Properties.

(Bloomberg)—A deal-making cancer doctor who sold his pharmaceutical company for almost $12 billion is launching a real estate venture to bolster the growth of the biotechnology industry.

Arie Belldegrun’s family office, Bellco Capital, has entered into a joint venture with New York-based real estate developer Tishman Speyer to start Breakthrough Properties, the companies said Tuesday in a statement. The venture said it bought its first property, a 1-acre (0.4 hectare) development site in Boston’s Seaport District, for $80 million, and is exploring other acquisitions in the area as well as in San Francisco.

“This came out of necessity,” Belldegrun said in a telephone interview. “I realized that there’s a significant need for an ecosystem in life sciences where scientists can work and interact.”

Belldegrun, 69, is a UCLA-based cancer researcher and surgeon who’s emerged as a serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist. He sold Kite Pharma, which develops genetically engineered cancer treatments, in 2017 to Gilead Sciences Inc. for $11.9 billion and since then has helped launch Vida Ventures to start more pharma companies.

Boston Site

Breakthrough Properties will provide various business development services to help tenants grow, Belldegrun said. Vida Ventures, his venture capital arm, may also take stakes in the biotech firms. The Seaport District site comes with 250,000 square feet (23,200 square meters) of development rights and is expected to be finished by 2021, according to the news release.

Breakthrough’s chief executive officer is Belldegrun’s son Dan, who worked for Tishman for several years. Belldegrun’s wife, Rebecka, who is also a doctor, manages Bellco Capital, the family office formed in 2003.

Tishman Speyer, whose properties include New York’s Rockefeller Center, last year sold a 13-story building in Boston’s burgeoning Seaport District for $450 million, setting a record for an office transaction in the city.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael McDonald in Boston at [email protected].

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alan Mirabella at [email protected]

Josh Friedman, Dan Reichl

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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