Breakthrough Properties


Breakthrough Properties Secures £104 Million Loan and Planning Approvals For Vitrum by Breakthrough at St. John’s Innovation Park

Construction Commences on Premier Lab & Office Workspaces to Address the Growing Needs of the Cambridge Bioscience Ecosystem

Cambridge, England (January 30, 2024) – Breakthrough Properties, a leading global life sciences real estate developer, owner and operator, today announced it is set to begin construction on Vitrum by Breakthrough, a world-class life science building located inside the 21-acre St. John’s Innovation Park in Cambridge, England.

A joint venture of global developer Tishman Speyer and biotechnology investment firm Bellco Capital, Breakthrough is set to move forward on the project after securing a £104 million construction loan from BGO, as well as receiving planning permission/entitlements and approvals.  This was the first permission granted for a new commercial building in the North East Cambridge area since July 2022.

Breakthrough is transforming the 1.8-acre site into a flexible, high-performance laboratory environment. Working with world-renowned architectural studio Henning Larsen, Breakthrough has designed the five-story, 175,000-square-foot building for maximum flexibility and adaptability for a wide range of scientific uses. Site completion and grand opening is anticipated in 2026.

“With Vitrum by Breakthrough, we are creating a cutting-edge environment for biotechnology companies that rely on modern, flexible lab spaces to advance life-changing scientific discovery,” said Breakthrough Properties Senior Vice President for Acquisitions and Development Tom Renn. “We are grateful to the team at BGO for embracing our vision and meeting the moment of intense demand for premier sites in the severely supply-constrained Cambridge market.”

BGO Managing Director Martin Sheridan added, “BGO is thrilled to be supporting Breakthrough Properties on the development of this market-leading project backed by their established track record of developing, owning and operating life science facilities globally. This deal represents our first UK life science financing, and we expect to participate in more opportunities this year with our confidence in the sector remaining high.”

Vitrum by Breakthrough will promote site biodiversity and embrace the theme of “nature as a workplace.” The unique design includes the creation of a ground floor entrance square for occupiers as well as the general public, which will incorporate accessible amenity spaces visually connected to the streetscape and integrate public art. Vitrum’s landscaped outdoor terraces will provide an additional amenity for occupiers and enhance the existing tree avenue on Cowley Road and the woodland ecosystem adjacent to the site.

The building is designed to function free of fossil fuels, with all-electrical heating and cooling systems. Passive design and reduced water consumption will mitigate flood risk and reduce the urban heat island effect, improving climate resilience. The facility will include dedicated basement parking and on-site electric vehicle charging stations, as well as dedicated bicycle storage.

Breakthrough’s plans for Vitrum reflect the company’s ongoing commitment to increasing energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions and providing healthy workspaces. As with all of its European projects, Breakthrough commits to target at least BREEAM Excellent certification, while striving to reach BREEAM Outstanding. Net zero in both construction and operation (for landlord areas only) is also being targeted for the project, as are WELL Platinum, WiredScore and ActiveScore accreditations.

Founded in 2019, Breakthrough has established itself as one of the most active players in the life sciences sector, with approximately five million square feet of projects in its global development pipeline. Vitrum By Breakthrough will be its third European project to break ground over the past year.  Its other ongoing European projects include a new life science building on the campus of the Amsterdam University Medical Center, which has been fully pre-leased to Neogene Therapeutics which was recently acquired by AstraZeneca, and Trinity by Breakthrough, a 210,000-square-foot R&D building in Oxford.

About Breakthrough Properties (

Formed in 2019 as a joint venture between global real estate owner, developer, and investor Tishman Speyer and biotechnology investment firm Bellco Capital, Breakthrough Properties is a life science real estate development company that leverages cross-sector collaboration to deliver environments that foster innovation and scientific breakthroughs. Breakthrough Properties’ mission is to acquire, develop and operate the best life science properties in leading urban technology centers around the world and support scientific innovation across biotechnology, agriculture, and nutrition. Breakthrough combines Tishman Speyer’s decades of global real estate development experience with Bellco Capital’s industry-making biotechnology entrepreneurship to reimagine environments where companies can create life-changing therapies for patients.

About BGO (

BGO is a leading, global real estate investment management advisor, real estate lending advisor, and a globally-recognized provider of real estate services. BGO serves the interests of more than 750 institutional clients with approximately $81 billion USD of assets under management (as of September 30, 2023). BGO has offices in 27 cities across thirteen countries with deep, local knowledge, experience, and extensive networks in the regions where we invest, provide real estate lending solutions, and manage real estate assets on behalf of our clients.

BGO’s global lending platform is active in the UK, Europe, the US, and Canada. In the UK and Europe, BGO, on behalf of its clients, focuses on senior, whole loan and mezzanine lending solutions typically structured to enable borrowers to implement their business plans.

BGO is a part of SLC Management, the institutional alternatives and traditional asset management business of Sun Life. The assets under management shown above includes real estate equity and mortgage investments managed by the BGO group of companies and their affiliates, and as of 1Q21, includes certain uncalled capital commitments for discretionary capital until they are legally expired and excludes certain uncalled capital commitments where the investor has complete discretion over investment.


FROM: Breakthrough Properties

Contact: Rubenstein

Bud Perrone – (347) 512-2383 /

Jessica Dluginski – (516) 242-1445 /

Tali Mackay – (323) 719-8391 /