SmartLabs to Become First Tenant of Drexel and Gattuso's Life Science Research Lab Facility

Capitalizing on Philadelphia’s emergence as a national hub for cell and gene therapy, SmartLabs, a Boston-based Laboratory-as-a-Service (LaaS) leader, has announced plans to open its first facility in the city in addition to SmartLabs’ advanced resourcing in Boston and the Bay Area.

SmartLabs will locate in a portion of the new life sciences research facility at 3201 Cuthbert Street that is set to become the largest life sciences research and production space in the city upon completion in 2025. The facility is centered in the heart of Drexel University’s campus, which is creating a vibrant presence and ecosystem of innovation in and around University City. The new 508,000 square foot facility, developed by Gattuso Development Partners in partnership with New York-based Vigilant Holdings, will offer advanced R&D, vivarium, and manufacturing suites. SmartLabs will occupy two floors in the building.

“We are thrilled to announce our expansion into Philadelphia to bring our advanced infrastructure and operations platform to the region’s scientific innovators,” said Amrit Chaudhuri, CEO and co-founder of SmartLabs. “Philadelphia has a trailblazing community of companies advancing cell & gene therapies, and SmartLabs’ new facilities will improve their scientific outcomes, accelerating time from discovery to commercialization. SmartLabs has already supported dozens of biopharma companies in the national biotech hubs of Boston and San Francisco, and we believe that Philadelphia’s exciting CGT market and proximity to prestigious academic institutions makes it an ideal third geography.”

Philadelphia is home to a booming cell and gene therapy (CGT) ecosystem which will benefit from the colocation of R&D labs, in vivo suites, and clean rooms capable of cGMP manufacturing. By licensing SmartLabs’ state-of-the-art laboratory facilities rather than investing substantial time and money in building new space, biopharma companies can focus on their science and get new treatments to patients faster.With this expansion, SmartLabs will establish its seventh location – the company currently operates four facilities in the Boston area, with one currently operational facility in San Francisco and another under construction – and bring its total nationwide real estate to 550,000 square feet. The new building, owned by an affiliate of Gattuso Development Partners and Vigilant on a site which has been leased on a long-term basis with Drexel University, is yet another life sciences collaboration for the firm, which has its development roots in the renaissance of The Navy Yard as a hub for life sciences research and production facilities.

“SmartLabs is revolutionizing the way scientists access and work in laboratories, and we are thrilled to support their mission to accelerate science,” said John Fry, president of Drexel University. “Many of Philadelphia’s CGT companies are investigating treatments for rare and orphan diseases, and the ability to reduce costs and ramp-up time can be critical for them. We look forward to SmartLabs’ presence in Philadelphia R&D and to the scientific advances that will come out of their facilities.”

“We are tremendously excited about partnering with SmartLabs to accelerate the development of research facilities in the new building,” said John Gattuso, co-founder and co-principal of the firm. “SmartLabs is a national leader in the LaaS field, and in addition to the tremendous opportunity it presents for our project, its expansion reaffirms Philadelphia’s growing recognition as a national hub for life sciences, especially in the field of cell and gene therapy.”

About SmartLabs

SmartLabs designs, builds, and operates integrated, enterprise-grade research environments, including multifunctional research and development labs, vivaria, process development, pilot-scale manufacturing, and cGMP suites for companies of all sizes. SmartLabs currently operates four locations in Massachusetts – Kendall Square, East Cambridge, Boston Landing, and the Seaport District, as well as one location in California – South San Francisco. SmartLabs provides in-house design, architecture, and construction management, as well as full-service lab operations and facilities management and a suite of shared amenities. For more information, please email or visit

About Gattuso

Development PartnersGattuso Development Partners are committed to creating exceptional, sustainable high performance workplaces. We recognize that the right work environment is the most critical asset a business can offer to attract, retain and inspire its employees and promote long term success.Gattuso professionals have played a key role in reshaping the Philadelphia skyline and revitalizing its urban landscape through their work with the urban development group at Liberty Property Trust, including more than $3 billion of development on projects like the Comcast Technology Center and the Comcast Center, in Center City, Philadelphia. This work also included the initial phase of the redevelopment of The Navy Yard, considered the most successful redevelopment of a former military facility anywhere in the country; the Camden Waterfront; and more than 50 office/flex buildings across the nation. Since its formation in 2018, Gattuso has completed the $125 million Iovance Biotherapeutics research and production facility at 300 Rouse Blvd., and is currently developing the 130,000 square foot cGMP facility at 2500 League Island Boulevard, both at The Navy Yard. For more information, go to

About Vigilant Real Estate Holdings

Vigilant Real Estate Holdings was founded in 2020 to acquire strategic and diversified assets across the United States with a specific focus on life sciences developments. The platform leverages nearly 70 years of combined real estate experience and relationships to capitalize transactions of varying sizes and risk profiles. Led and co-founded by David Fowler and based in New York, Vigilant currently owns over 1 million square feet of life sciences developments on both the east and west coasts. David Fowler spent the previous 12 years in real estate capital markets brokerage most recently serving as a senior vice president at CBRE in New York. Industry leader, John Fowler, serves as Vigilant’s senior advisor and was the co-founder and executive managing director of HFF, Inc prior to its sale to JLL.

About Drexel

Drexel, a comprehensive urban university of more than 23,000 students, is a leader in experiential, technology-infused education, enriched by the nation’s premier cooperative-education program. Drexel is rethinking its institutional boundaries and creating a vibrant presence and ecosystem of innovation in and around University City. This ecosystem will ultimately benefit students through co-ops and career opportunities, benefit faculty through collaborative research and training, and benefit the surrounding community through the creation of a pipeline to employment. Through a partnership with Brandywine Realty Trust, Schuylkill Yards a $3.5 billion mixed-use project is being constructed on University real estate adjacent to Philadelphia’s Amtrak 30th Street Station. In partnerships with Spark Therapeutics and with Gattuso Development Partners, the University is bringing a state-of-the-art gene manufacturing center and what is expected to be the largest life sciences facility in Philadelphia to campus. Together with Wexford Science and Technology, Drexel is also extending uCity Square, a multi-billion-dollar development, in part through an academic building that will relocate the College of Medicine and College of Nursing and Health Professions to the University City campus.