Guardant Health is expanding its San Diego, remodeling space it leased in Torrey Pines. (Photo courtesy of Guardant Health)

Guardant Health is expanding its San Diego, remodeling space it leased in Torrey Pines. (Photo courtesy of Guardant Health)

A bio-tech company based in Northern California is establishing a San Diego footprint in Torrey Pines with plans to grow aggressively over the next year.

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AmirAli Talasaz Co-CEO Guardant Health

Guardant Health has leased about 37,000 square feet of space at 10578 Science Center Drive in what will be the company’s second-largest operation outside of its Redwood City headquarters, said AmirAli Talasaz, co-CEO who founded the company in 2012 with co-CEO Helmy Eltoukhy.


 Guardant has a staff of 55 in San Diego and expects that to grow to 110 to 120 on-site and also is hiring for remote work.


“We’re expanding our recruiting,” Talasaz said. “We’re aggressively hiring.”


Guardant has more than 1,400 employees in all with about 900 employees in California.


“San Diego is a very strategic site for us,” Talasaz said. “We’re kind of scaling it.”


The Business


Guardant Health describes itself as “a precision oncology company continuing to lead the way in creating blood tests that help patients across all stages of cancer live longer and healthier lives.”


The company said that this year it will be the first company to offer blood tests across all stages of cancer from detecting cancer early, to monitoring for disease recurrence in early-stage patients to treatment selection and treatment response monitoring for patients with advanced-stage cancer.


To date, more than 250,000 tests have been performed by more than 11,000 oncologists, according to Guardant.


The San Diego labs are primarily designed to support processing samples from GuardantOMNI for more than 100 biopharmaceutical partners that are developing the next generation of oncology therapeutics, according to Guardant.


Companies use GuardantOMNI to help identify patients whose cancer has the right molecular profile for their clinical trials and programs.


The San Diego lab is also a second site to help Guardant with business continuity and to support overflow capacity for processing samples collected in a clinical setting.


Huge Growth


Guardant in 2021 signed an eight-year lease with Alexandria Real Estate on the Torrey Pines space and has since remodeled the area and is just now scaling up its San Diego operations with an official ribbon cutting April 20.


“We’ve done heavy construction work to make it suitable for our business,” Talasaz said.


The space had been used by another life science company, but Talasaz said it required substantial work to fit Guardant’s needs.


Talasaz said the company spent about $2 million renovating the Torrey Pines space.


In 2021, the company reported revenue of $374 million and Talasaz said that he expects revenue for 2022 to be $460 million to $470 million.


“Hopefully, we expect that this business growth will continue for the next couple of years,” Talasaz said. “We are expecting huge growth in our business.”


Talasaz said the company was drawn to the area because “the talent in San Diego is amazing in terms of the quality of the candidates we’ve seen and we have hired so far.”


Little Room


The San Diego market for life science and biotech companies is extremely tight, especially in Torrey Pines.


 “Torrey Pines is San Diego’s most sought-after life science submarket, located in the academic and research heart centered around UC San Diego’s campus,” according to the Newmark Research, which is part of the commercial real estate brokerage Newmark.


“It is the second largest of San Diego’s life science submarkets with 5.5 million square feet of existing inventory, but it is severely land-constrained due to its coastal location and the amount of university-owned land in the area” according to Newmark Research. “Vacancy is incredibly low at 1.6%, and there is 405,000 square feet of new life science space currently under construction which has almost entirely been confirmed to be preleased.”


The firm reported that as of late April, “400,000 square feet of new space has been proposed for conversion or ground up construction.”


As a result of the limited availability of life science space in Torrey Pines, rents have been rapidly rising.


“During 2021, life science deals in the submarket averaged $5.35 per square foot, and new deals signed so far in the first quarter of 2022 have averaged $6.41 per square foot,” according to Newmark.


Guardant Health
Founded: 2012
Headquarters: Redwood City
Co-CEOs: AmirAli Talasaz and Helmy Eltoukhy
Business: Bio-tech company
Employees: 55 (in San Diego)
Revenue: $374 million 2021; 2022 (projected) $460 million to $470 million
Website: 
https://guardanthealth.com/
Contact: 855-698-8887
Notable:  Guardant Health said in 2022 it will be the first company to offer blood tests across all stages of cancer from detecting cancer early to monitoring for disease recurrence.