Health

Big business of blood

Courting disputes

Blood Center Expansion Aspirations Now Reach Vertically – In The Form Of A $ 750 Million Offer With Boston Developer Longfellow To Rotate It Upper East Side Research Center to a 16-story life sciences center. The blood center will occupy about a third of the tower, and Longfellow, in exchange for paying construction costs, will rent out the remaining space academic and startup life sciences companies.

If their zoning change application prevails, it will be despite the fact that violent opposition from neighbors and local elected officials, including city councilor Ben Kallos, who ridiculed this as a ploy to “print money.”

“I’ve never seen a project like this that was so hostile to elected officials,” Kallos told Crain’s in May.

Since 2019, the center has spent about $ 1 million developing and promoting the proposal, city lobbying reports show.

According to former employees, the center’s ambition to extract more from its site has been around for decades. Richard Bonomo, the former center researcher who patented the plasma virus deactivation process, recalled a “brief flirtation” in the 1980s with the sale of occupancy rights in a building to generate additional revenue. Norman Selby, who was the chief operating officer at the time, said it was little more than talk, but he said executives viewed Center East as an underutilized piece of valuable real estate and had many ideas on how to better use the space or expand it.

Selby, who was transferred from McKinsey in the late 1980s to spearhead a financial coup downtown, said the nonprofit must be financially self-sufficient to cover its high fixed costs, especially as a small portion of its income comes from donations. …

“We had to make money,” Selby said.

The center has long pursued alternative sources of income. Royalties from inventions of researchers like the one Bonomo helped conceive generated millions of dollars each year. This revenue stream has declined since 2018; CFO Mor attributed this to a drop in patent life. His other creation, a software platform for managing blood centers, spawned the Boss Solutions Group, a consulting and IT division, which it sold in 2010 for an undisclosed amount.

The center also invests surplus cash in private equity funds, which has proven to be profitable. The center’s fund is currently $ 380 million. Recent acquisitions helped boost annual revenue from $ 391 million in fiscal 2019 to $ 483.5 million the following year.

More said he is prioritizing expanding the licensing department to commercialize researchers’ discoveries, which he said has been divested of priority over the past decade. He also predicts significant growth in the center’s cell therapy business.

And the blood center continues to expand into new markets. He opened a new donor center in Connecticut last week.

This story was originally published by our partner Crain’s New York Business.


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