A New Hub for Emerging Technologies

Confidential Life Science Client
Lexington, MA

After a long-term biopharmaceutical client — recently acquired by a global pharmaceutical company — merged with another biopharmaceutical company from Illinois, SMMA worked with the organization to co-locate its expertise in medical devices and support functions for better collaboration, innovation, and efficient operations. The client’s building at 125 Spring Street in Lexington, MA, has served many purposes: first it was a Raytheon building, then it became a wet research facility. Before the merger, the space incorporated everything from lab and office space to a vivarium.

As part of the overall co-location strategy, the client’s biologics team moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, thus freeing up the space at 125 Spring Street. This opportunistic timing meant that the client and SMMA could transform the building into a Center of Excellence for Medical Devices — One centralized location geared towards exploring how next generation therapeutics, emerging technologies, and new care models can improve patient health.

Piquing Public Interest

SMMA’s design concept sought to draw visitors and staff to the new device lab, consequently showing off its capabilities, inspiring innovation, and educating interested individuals about the client’s devices. In order to succeed in this mission, the building had to go undergo a dramatic transformation from its initial usage as a standard laboratory to a showcase piece that emphasized the client’s areas of focused growth (such as Human Factors and E-health). The renovated building, consisting of two floors that place emphasis on the combination of medical devices with biologic products, is a truly accessible central hub of activity.

Inside 125 Spring Street:

Product Showcase

Displays launched products and devices in the main first floor lobby.

User Experience Center

Used for on-site human factors and user studies. The room is equipped with microphones, remote controlled cameras, and a one-way mirror to an adjacent room for obstervation.

Brainstorm Hub

An open area at the center of the lab which includes moveable whiteboards, easels, post-its, and flexible table/chair reconfigurations. It is used for brainstorming, innovation sessions, lessons-learned debriefs, and training. It encourages instant prototyping by 360-degree access to surrounding lab benches and equipment.

Prototyping Center

Fully accessible with 3D printers and rapid prototyping tools.

Specialized Areas

A “Pilot Assembly” area, “Fabrication Lab,” and “Packaging Lab," alongside an "Innovation Wall” that displays framed patents.



E-Health Center

Demonstrates connected devices, app offerings, and software devices. This center has the ability to project videos and conduct demos via telepresence, demonstrates technical expertise, and encourages collaboration. 

Gallery Walk

Aids in the setup of hands-on product demonstrations to show off work and stimulate discussions. This area has controlled access so staff can display projects under development, rather than just launched products with protected intellectual property rights.

Lab Space

Includes a biological compatibility lab, a device development lab, wet lab areas for special purposes, and a main lab. The main lab (a dry lab for mechanical device testing) has an optimized layout for a wide variety of tasks: measuring, microscopy, device testing, container closure systems testing, assembly, disassembly, prototyping, reverse engineering, spray painting, bonding, etc.

A Secure Layout

The Center of Excellence aims not only to accommodate its diverse program and culture, but also to maintain areas of security through designating public and private fronts. To accomplish this, SMMA strategically positioned the different areas within the floor plan. The public-facing programming, such as the patented product displays and demonstration center, are located upon entering the building. To obscure current research and the development process, the prototypes and unpatented products are located towards the rear of the building where only staff can access.

Client Suitability

125 Spring Street’s previous life as a biologics building did not lend itself to supporting its new function. In some ways, it was “over-designed.” SMMA’s challenge was to retain as many engineering systems as possible while also assessing their suitability and compatibility with medical device functions and the overall building lifecycle. The team conducted analysis of all mechanical and electrical systems and replaced the HVAC and power infrastructure as required to provide air changes, air quality, reliability, efficiency, and the expectancy appropriate for medical repurposing. They also made significant upgrades to the building envelope, including new window systems, upgrades to the pre-cast building exterior, and a new roof.