City of Hope announces $1B cancer campus in Orange County, California

City of Hope officials announced Tuesday they are purchasing 11 acres in Irvine, California. They expect to open the facility by mid-2021 and an adjacent inpatient facility by 2025. (FivePoint)

Duarte, California-based cancer research and treatment center City of Hope is planning to build an approximately $1 billion cancer campus—including an outpatient and clinical research facility and an inpatient hospital—in Orange County.

Officials announced Tuesday they are purchasing 11 acres, including a 190,000-square-foot facility to house an outpatient cancer care center and a clinical research center, in FivePoint Holdings Great Park Neighborhoods in Irvine, California. They expect to open the facility by mid-2021.

They plan to open an inpatient specialty hospital by 2025 adjacent to the outpatient site, City of Hope President and CEO Robert Stone told FierceHealthcare.

Last year, City of Hope and Five Point announced a partnership to build a $200 million, 73,000-square-foot cancer center. This announcement expands upon that plan and advances the timeline as the new larger building which is a shell space became available, he said. "The shell was already up. We'll be able to open the outpatient clinic in half the time," Stone said. 

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Stone said the Duarte-based City of Hope decided to pursue the Orange County project after realizing 20% of Orange County residents were leaving the county for their cancer care, with many coming to the main Duarte campus for that care. "It's not that far mileage-wise. It's 50 to 60 miles depending on where you live in the county," Stone said. "But with traffic patterns, if you're going at the wrong time, that can take up to a couple of hours for really sick people and their support systems."

Further, the cancer incidence rate in Orange County is projected to increase by 18% over the next decade, he said. "We saw a need there," he said. 

After initially announcing the outpatient facility last year, City of Hope officials heard from residents about a greater need for highly specialized cancer care, a greater need for access to phase 1 through phase 3 clinical trials and a need for access to emerging technologies. "The vision has gotten bigger based on our understanding of the need," he said.

The plans are still in the works, and Stone said he could not specify how many beds would be part of the inpatient space, although he said it would be much smaller than 217-bed hospital on the Duarte main campus.

Research on the campus will be focused on making clinical trials available to patients. The campus will also include the infrastructure that goes around the clinical trials, such as infusion space. It will be focused on serving as an extension of City of Hope in Duarte, providing access to specialized cancer experts, advanced treatment such as bone marrow transplants, stem cell transplants and chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy. 

Architects and construction firms have not yet been designated for the project.

City of Hope Orange County will also have additional clinical locations to provide medical oncology and infusion services in the county. The organization previously announced plans to open a Newport Beach facility later this year.