Thank You, Mayor Menino

Mayor Tom Menino

MassBio is very saddened to hear of the loss of Mayor Thomas M. Menino. Mayor Menino was a steadfast supporter of the life sciences, in Boston and in Massachusetts, and he will be missed.

“There’s no doubt that Mayor Menino is one of the reasons Massachusetts has become the best place in the world for healthcare and life sciences,” said Robert K. Coughlin, President & CEO of MassBio. “His vision and commitment to innovation, most obvious in the now-booming Innovation District, wasn’t only an economic or planning initiative. It was also meant to harness the resources and talent in Boston for the benefit of sick people, the patient population, around the world. That’s what he cared about, people. We are truly grateful for his vision and leadership, and our thoughts are with his family at this time.”

Mayor Tom Menino

Gubernatorial Candidates Share Ideas for MA Life Sciences

Still deciding who to vote for?

We spoke with Charlie Baker and Martha Coakley at the 2014 MassBio Gubernatorial Candidate Forum, and they told us their opinions and ideas about what the future of the life sciences in Massachusetts might look like if elected governor. Here’s what they had to say!

Q: The Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative, passed into law in 2008, sent a clear message that the Commonwealth was willing to invest to grow the industry here. Beyond the specific programs, the law’s intent, championed by the Governor working cooperatively with the Legislature, resonated worldwide. Massachusetts was determined to be a leader in life sciences, and today we are. However, the LSI expires in 2018, within your term if elected. Would your Administration support another LSI initiative past 2018 and what might that initiative look like?

Q: The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, created as part of the healthcare cost containment law passed in 2012, has begun its mandated task of providing guidance for reform of healthcare delivery and payment systems. While drug costs make up just 10% of the healthcare cost equation, what role do you see the drug development industry playing in these important reforms? Read the rest of this entry

Welcome New Members

logoACI Clinical is a specialty provider of Endpoint Adjudication Committees (EAC) and Data Monitoring Committees (DMC) with related statistical programming, safety and data analytics services. ACI’s smarter committees provide the independent expert opinions needed to clearly and effectively assess safety and efficacy of developing therapies. ACI maintains a global network of more than 300 expert clinicians and statisticians from prominent academic institutions to serve as a source of committee members for clients, and each committee project is supported by the company’s deeply experienced staff and proprietary committee management technology, AIMS ™, to keep everyone connected and focused. The leadership team remains heavily involved in private-public partnerships aimed at improving committee practices in order to advise our clients on the latest regulatory thinking. ACI is a CDISC Registered Solutions Provider. Link

logoImmunetics, Inc. brings advanced immunoassay technology to the diagnosis of infectious diseases, with third generation ELISA and Western Blot kits. In an era of acute and emerging infectious diseases, our products are at the front lines of healthcare. We aim to make a difference for patients worldwide with life threatening viral, bacterial and parasitic infections. Our line of clinical diagnostic and research products includes QualiCode(tm) Western Blot kits for tick-borne, viral and parasitic diseases and the C6 B. burgdorferi (Lyme) ELISA, internationally recognized as the new performance standard in Lyme testing. In the growing field of biodefense, Immunetics offers the first FDA-approved ELISA kit for detection of anthrax infection. We also offer patented Miniblotter® instruments for blotting, spoligotyping and other membrane assays. Immunetics has received numerous NIH grants for development of assays and instrumentation, and collaborates actively with researchers worldwide to transform cutting edge technology into new products for clinical diagnostics and research applications. Our mission is better, cost-efficient care through more accurate diagnosis. Link

Top 5 News Stories 10/18/14 – 10/24/14

Top 5 logo1) Few Surprised: Science Skills Prevail in BostonBoston.com, October 22, 2014
With an abundance of universities, teaching hospitals, and drug companies, the top three individual skills in Boston are life sciences, pharmaceutical, and chemistry, according to new data from LinkedIn. Also among the region’s top skills are clinical trial and healthcare management. Link

2) Sanofi-Genzyme Joins $12M Round for T-Cell Therapy Startup, Unum – Xconomy, October 21, 2014
It’s no secret that cancer immunotherapy is exploding. The pharma and biotech world is abuzz trying to find the best ways to harness the power of the immune system to fight cancer. Startups are getting in on the act, too—like a new Cambridge, MA-based company, Unum Therapeutics, that just came out of the woodwork today with $12 million in backing from some of the Boston area’s biggest life sciences players. Link

3) Celgene adds $1B-plus immuno-oncology deal, buyout option for SutroFierceBiotech, October 23, 2014
Close to two years after Celgene closed its first development deal with Sutro Biopharma, the prolific partnering machine at the big biotech has come back and taken an option on buying the company and its antibody-drug conjugates and bispecifics. And Celgene is expanding their collaboration to include immuno-oncology drugs, the hottest R&D field in biotech. Link

4) Medical labs’ leftovers find uses elsewhereBoston Globe, October 22, 2014
Millions of tiny tubes of cells, proteins, antibodies, and other scientific goo sit in freezers at research institutions across the country. These leftovers of past lab experiments can languish for years, frozen and forgotten. Now a Boston company called Kerafast Inc. is helping institutions clean out their freezers and reuse biological materials for new research through an online marketplace, a sort of Craigslist for biologists. Link

5) Johnson & Johnson will test Ebola vaccine in humansKansas City Business Journal, October 22, 2014
Johnson & Johnson has partnered with Denmark-based Bavarian Nordic to develop the vaccine, which the companies hope will be available as soon as May. The vaccine, which involves two shots, will be tested on up to 600 volunteers in Europe and Africa. The vaccine has already been tested in animals. Link

“It’s Different for Everyone”: How a Doctor’s Words Affect Us – Guest Post by Lilly Stairs

LillyStairsIn this blog post, Lilly Stairs, Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Project Assistant and former MassBio Co-Op, shares some of her experiences and ideas for improving communication between patients and care professionals. She will serve as patient faculty for IHI’s seminar, Person- and Family-Centered Care: Transforming the Patient Experience, November 4-5, 2014.

“It’s different for everyone.”

I was sitting in yet another cold, sterile office as my doctor delivered this response. My heart sank. I had heard this comment one too many times. I was praying for answers that would give me some clarity.

At this point, I was no stranger to the health care system. Three years ago, I was a healthy, active 19-year-old woman beginning my second year of college when suddenly my life was turned upside down. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease and Psoriatic Arthritis, both autoimmune diseases. The total body arthritis resulted in excruciating pain that made me completely reliant on my mother. The Crohn’s gave me bleeding ulcers in my small intestine that made even drinking water almost unbearable.

After I became ill, I was in and out of the hospital and constantly consulting with specialists. I was thankful for the doctors who were compassionate and generous with their time, and disheartened by the ones who seemed cold and uncaring. Even the kindest of them, however, consistently gave me the same answer to my questions about my prognosis: “It’s different for everyone.”

I can imagine this answer is standard for the 50 million Americans suffering from more than 100 different autoimmune diseases. The complexity of these diseases makes them difficult to properly diagnose, and it’s true that how they affect each individual patient can be unique.

Read the rest of this entry