Spark Therapeutics is a publicly-traded, late clinical-stage gene therapy company with more than 700 employees. It researches medical treatments that can provide long-lasting effects that dramatically and positively change patients’ lives. Its treatments are for patients with conditions that have no, or only palliative, therapy available. The company has experienced significant growth requiring expansion and renovation of the existing facilities.
Watchdog was engaged for ongoing program management services as well as project management services for a relocation project. The team served as an extension of Spark’s in-house corporate facilities during a time of unprecedented growth. For the initial corporate office relocation engagement, Watchdog served as the Owner’s Representative. The team coordinated engineering and design reviews, provided oversight of the construction manager, evaluated the budget, and developed the project schedule.
Spark originally planned to have its corporate services groups, such as human resources and legal, occupy multiple floors of the FMC Tower in Philadelphia. However, after extensive cost reviews coordinated by Watchdog, Spark decided to only use a single level in the tower. The team had previous experience in the FMC Tower and knowledge of other tenants, allowing for efficient communication with the landlord.
After the corporate office relocation, Watchdog supported the in-house corporate facilities department with staff augmentation services. The team oversaw the build-out of space at the historic Bulletin Building at 3025 Market Street in Philadelphia. This location accommodated Spark’s commercial and procurement teams and new research and development lab space. Additional multi-phased build-outs were completed to create more office, laboratory, or manufacturing areas at the landmark 1 Drexel Plaza building, 3711 Market Street, and 3737 Market Street locations in Philadelphia.
Watchdog established guidelines and procedures for construction implementation to help the in-house team meet the rapidly expanding business needs. As an advocate for the owner, the team facilitated design reviews with Spark departments to gather feedback and ensure the build-out met expectations. Project issues, as well as maintenance concerns, were addressed during weekly coordination calls.
Spark established an in-house capital operations lead position to supervise ongoing projects. This change shifted Watchdog to an advisory role looking at all aspects of Spark’s future program. Although this transitioned the team away from construction oversight matters, Watchdog continues to apply project management skills in other ways. The team helped corporate facilities address operational concerns following the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Watchdog worked closely with the IT department to shepherd a software program deployed to 1,000 Spark employees and contractors. The team’s involvement helped multiple projects meet the established deadlines. Over this multi-year relationship, Watchdog has shown flexibility and an ability to adapt to the changing Spark leadership and conditions.