Success Stories

IONIS Pharmaceuticals

Carlsbad, CA
12.35 Acres SF
Cresa San Diego
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Client Objectives

IONIS Pharmaceuticals is a promising, young pharmaceutical development company experiencing strong growth. The company’s leases for its corporate headquarters (three buildings) were nearing expiration and IONIS was interested in moving into a new facility that would house their operation under one roof, reflect the company’s culture, allow for continued growth, and provide an efficient mix of office and highly-specialized lab space for pharmaceutical drug development and testing. Cresa researched existing facilities that could meet IONIS Pharmaceuticals’ desired time frame, as well as land parcels available for purchase or possible build-to-suit opportunities. After reviewing all options, the client decided to pursue a specific land parcel for a hybrid purchase/build-to-suit facility.

Cash being critical to a growing biomedical company such as IONIS Pharmaceuticals, the client challenged Cresa to identify low-cost financing for a state of the art facility, find a cost effective solution that would minimize cash outlay, maintain long-term control, and provide a hedge against inflation risk.


Cresa negotiated and secured the purchase of 12.35 acres in Carlsbad, providing an optimum development opportunity for IONIS Pharmaceuticals. Cresa Capital Markets was enrolled to develop a strategy with a minimal outlay of cash and attractive financing rates, despite the company not yet reaching profitability. A variety of leasing, financing, and tax-oriented mechanisms and structures were analyzed. The Cresa team used its network of contacts to identify the ideal financing partner that would provide the lowest cost of financing for the build-to-suit, provide assurance of funding in a volatile financing market, and allow the client to retain functional control of their new facility. Favorable terms were negotiated for key lease provisions such as inflation hedges, creative set rent escalations, and purchase options at predetermined rates. Cresa worked with IONIS and its auditors to ensure the lease qualified for operating lease treatment, and most importantly, the pre-negotiated purchase options in the lease were structured to provide sufficient flexibility to unwind the lease should accounting rules change the treatment of the lease in the future.


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