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SAN DIEGO — The first time it happened, veteran real estate broker Ted Jacobs thought it was a fluke. But it didn’t take long for him to realize that the biotech industry’s demand for lab and office space, which had once seemed unquenchable, was suddenly slowing.

It was the fall of 2022, and Jacobs, who represents San Diego life science tenants for CBRE, was working with a company that was planning to expand after raising around $200 million. But the biotech, which Jacobs didn’t name, abruptly told him it was nixing those plans after the firm’s board decided to preserve its cash reserves.

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