Leading provider of peptides for cancer research, Mimotopes, is facing eviction from its $10 million purpose-built facility and ultimately ceasing operations altogether, after notice to exercise its lease renewal was late due to a clerical oversight.
As a vital component of the Australian and global medical research sector, the forced closure of Mimotopes, which was established in 1988, could have significant impacts on Australia’s scientific and research communities and retard progress in a number of biotechnical and biochemical fields. The closure would also result in 25 job losses.
In what Mimotopes is calling “a real David and Goliath battle, of historic proportions,” the landlord, Monash University has issued a 36-day eviction notice, giving Mimotopes until 30 April 2017 to vacate the premises.
Despite pleas from the research and biotech communities, Monash University has reportedly declined to reinstate the terms of the original lease agreement and will opportunistically make a substantive financial gain as a result – either through exponential rental increases or by taking possession of the building with no compensation to Mimotopes.
As one of only two companies who offer such services in Australia, peptide chemistry providers will need to be sourced off-shore, with probable losses of scientific IP, as Mimotopes are patent holders of peptide lantern technology.
Mimotopes’ original lease agreement allowed for rent based on land value alone, as the company paid for the construction of its purpose-built chemistry laboratory, with a seven-year lease and five, seven-year renewal options, giving the company options to 42 years of lease. Mimotopes’ notice to exercise its fourth renewal option was late due to a simple administrative error.