Encodia, a biotech company, has signed a long-term lease with Sterling Bay on a newly renovated building in Sorrento Mesa to give the company room to grow.
Founded in San Diego in 2015, Encodia had outgrown the 15,223 square feet of incubator space it had been leasing in Sorrento Valley.
“Over the past year, we’ve been busting at the seams,” said Encodia Chief Technology Officer Nigel Beard. “Since 2017, we’ve had 300% growth.
In 2017, the company had a staff of about 30.
“Now we’re over 90,” Beard said. “We’re really pressing the gas now coming out of a stealth research technical focused program.”
The company is “adding all the things you would expect to see” as Encodia moves from research into development.
Encodia describes itself as “a rapidly growing platform company that is developing a new generation of protein analysis tools based on single-molecule protein sequencing.”
Beard said that the company is actively recruiting and has about 30 immediate openings, Beard said.
“We’re hiring, we’re always hiring,” Beard said. “We have the space and we’re looking for the people to come join us.”
Beard said he expects that Encodia will continue to expand “at this rapid rate.”
“I don’t want to say that we’re on the way to Illumina campus size but we’re moving up,” Beard said.
Encodia’s founders include President and CEO Mark Chee, who co-founded Illumina in 1998.
Writing on Walls
The new lease with Sterling Bay at 5785 Oberlin Drive gives the company 65,800 square feet of space in a three-story building.
“We have this entire building which is great,” Beard said.
Shane Poppen of Hughes Marino represented Encodia in arranging the lease and Andy Huggett of CBRE represented Sterling Bay.
The building had been used for commercial office space and was extensively remodeled by Sterling Bay to make it suitable for a life science company, said Ben Yan, Sterling Bay assistant vice president of asset management.
Sterling Bay reinforced the floors to handle the weight of the equipment life science companies use, added a tenant lounge, a conference room, installed a freight elevator, created a new entrance at the rear of the building, and installed a new air circulation system that pulls air into the building and exhausts it without recirculating it, Tan said.
“We stripped it basically down to the studs,” Beard said.
The back half of each floor in the building is all lab space with open floor plans.
“It’s a very collaborative space. We don’t really have offices,” Beard said. “We have a variety of seating.”
With floor-to-ceiling windows, the entire interior is “bathed in light,” Beard said.
There also are patios on each floor to give the workspace an indoor-outdoor feel
In an unusual touch, Beard said that the walls and even the windows are meant to be used as places where people can write down their ideas and calculations on the spot in brainstorming sessions and not have to move to a conference room to work.
The walls were treated with special paint that makes then erasable.
“You’re not contained or framed by white boards on the wall,” Beard said. “Surfaces should be there for use. Why not?”
Beard declined to say how much Encodia spent renovating the interior of the building beyond saying that it was “several million.”
Beard said Encodia chose the Sterling Bay building because of its location in what Bear said was “really the epicenter” of bio tech and life science development in San Diego.
Sterling Bay bought the building in 2021. Rodney Richerson, managing principal at Sterling Bay, said, “The pandemic has intensified demand for biomedical research space that’s located in thriving communities like Sorrento Mesa.”
President and CEO: Mark Chee
Headquarters: Sorrento Mesa
Business: Biotech/life science company
Contact: email@example.com; 858-345-6272
Social impact: Encodia has a new initiative that focuses on improving social equity in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math).
Notable: Encodia is a rapidly growing platform company that is developing a new generation of protein analysis tools based on single-molecule protein sequencing.