City of Hope more than doubles investment in Calif. cancer campus

City of Hope drastically increased its investment to build a new cancer campus in Orange County, Calif., in terms of both size and cost, the cancer research and treatment center said Tuesday.

The $1 billion campus will mark City of Hope’s first expansion into Orange County.

Despite being known as a fairly prosperous region, Orange County suffers from a dearth of specialty cancer care, said Annette Walker, president of City of Hope, Orange County. Nearly 20% of Orange County residents leave the region for advanced care, according to data cited by City of Hope.

The median household income in Orange County is $81,851, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013-2017 American Community Survey.

“Even a county with that many resources has so many people needing to leave the county,” Walker said.

City of Hope, which is based in Duarte, Calif., and has more than 30 sites of care throughout Southern California, named Walker to her post last year to oversee the development of a cancer center in Orange County, which at the time was announced as a $200 million investment. The cancer center—a partnership between City of Hope and FivePoint, an owner and developer of mixed-use communities in California—was slated to open in 2025 at 73,000 square feet.

But after conducting a needs assessment, including an assessment of what services those 20% of Orange County residents leaving the region for advanced care were seeking, City of Hope has opted expanded its plans into a $1 billion investment, with a focus on specialty cancer care, access to clinical trials and precision medicine.

“We learned that the needs were greater than we thought,” said Robert Stone, City of Hope’s president and CEO. “We discovered that the county has a great need for preventative services.”

City of Hope has purchased 11 acres of land for the new campus, including a 190,000-square-foot building, which has accelerated the timeline for the project. The cancer campus is now expected to open 2021.

“It has gained us at least two years in expediting our entry to market,” Walker said of the building, which she said has never been occupied. “It is a blank slate for us to come into.”

The campus, which City of Hope emphasizes will deliver comprehensive cancer care, will house an outpatient center, a clinical research center and a cancer specialty hospital. The outpatient center will offer chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery, as well as preventive services that integrate big data, genome testing and family histories.

City of Hope’s preventive cancer work in Orange County will build on its existing affiliation with TGen, a genomics research institute, and participation in the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network, a research collaboration between North American cancer centers, Walker said.