A New Hub for Emerging Technologies

Confidential Client
Lexington, MA

When a longtime biopharmaceutical client, recently acquired by a global pharmaceutical company, merged with another biopharmaceutical company based in Illinois, SMMA worked with the organization to co-locate its expertise in medical devices and support functions to better foster collaboration, innovation, and efficient operations. The client’s building at 125 Spring Street in Lexington, MA, has served many purposes: first as a space for Raytheon and then as a wet lab research facility. Before the merger, the space included a variety of program types, from labs to offices to a vivarium.

As part of the overall co-location strategy, the client’s biologics team moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, thus freeing up 125 Spring Street to be transformed into a Center of Excellence for Medical Devices. The new Center functions as a hub for the exploration of next-generation therapeutics, emerging technologies, and new care models that can help improve patient health.

Piquing Public Interest

At its core, the design intent was to draw visitors and staff to the new device lab. The lab, while designed to inspire innovation among the company’s researchers and developers, also serves as a destination for outside visitors – showing off its capabilities and educating individuals about the client’s devices. To succeed in this mission, the building had to undergo a dramatic transformation from its initial usage as a standard laboratory building 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.

Medical devices and support functions create a Center of Excellence at 125 Spring Street.

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 observation.

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, 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

Includes 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. Users of the Center can project videos, and conduct demos via telepresence, helping to demonstrate technical expertise and encourage collaboration. 

Gallery Walk

Aids in the setup of hands-on product demonstrations to show off work and stimulate discussion. 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 to accommodate  a wide variety of tasks, including measuring, microscopy, device testing, container closure systems testing, assembly, disassembly, prototyping, reverse engineering, spray painting, bonding, etc.

Medical devices and support functions create a Center of Excellence at 125 Spring Street.

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 near the main entrance, visible upon entry. To obscure current research and the development process, the prototypes and unpatented products are located towards the rear of the building, only accessible by staff.

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. They also replaced the HVAC and power infrastructure as required to provide air changes, air quality, reliability, efficiency, and the expectancy appropriate for medical repurposing. Finally, they made significant upgrades to the building envelope, including new window systems, upgrades to the pre-cast building exterior, and a new roof.

Medical devices and support functions create a Center of Excellence at 125 Spring Street.