Boston firm acquires Rubius Therapeutics facility

SMITHFIELD – Following significant layoffs in the fall, Rubius Therapeutics Inc. has sold its biomanufacturing facility to Boston-based company The Davis Cos.

The purchase includes Rubius’ 122,000-square-foot facility, located at 100 Technology Way in Smithfield, Davis announced on Wednesday, as well as a 15.5-acre, currently vacant development parcel, which has approval to host another biotech manufacturing facility of up to 175,000 square feet.

In the announcement, Davis, a real estate investment, development and management firm, said it was attracted to the property for its location and infrastructure capabilities that support a range of manufacturing capabilities.

“There is a growing need in the life science industry for process development and small-batch testing ahead of clinical trials,” Cappy Daume, chief portfolio management officer at Davis, said in a statement. “This acquisition will help companies address that need in both the short and long term. We believe that the Smithfield facility is extremely well positioned to attract the talent pool needed to operate facilities of this type.”

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Rubius did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In September, Rubius announced that it would lay off 75% of its overall workforce, including around 70 Rhode Island employees out of 160 companywide, as it considered selling the Smithfield facility. Rubius, based in Cambridge, Mass., employed 101 employees in Rhode Island at that time, and 269 at the beginning of 2022.

At that time, the company told PBN that it was “in active discussions with several companies via a competitive bidding process about the potential sale of the site.”

The announcement followed an August report from Rubius, which said the company had experienced a $44.2 million loss for the second quarter, and a $96.7 million net loss for the first half of 2022. Rubius also saw a $196.5 million loss in 2021, and a $167.7 million loss in 2020.

Patients participating in ongoing clinical trials would continue in those programs “until disease progression or discontinuation,” Rubius said. More than 80 patients have participated in these trials.

Prior to announcing the financial hardships, local leaders widely saw Rubius as a biotech success: the company established the Smithfield location after approval for up to $9 million in tax credits and incentives from the R.I. Commerce Corp. in 2018.

The state ultimately did not distribute these tax credits, an R.I. Commerce Corp. spokesperson told PBN, as Rubius did not meet required contingencies.

Jacquelyn Voghel is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at Voghel@PBN.com.