1) Momenta’s generic version of multiple sclerosis drug gets FDA approval – BBJ, 4/16/15
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first-ever generic version of the multiple sclerosis drug, Copaxone, which was developed by Cambridge-based Momenta Pharmaceuticals. However, it’s still unclear when the drug might become available to patients
2) Could Massachusetts lose its edge in life sciences? – Boston Globe, 4/12/15
It’s difficult to pinpoint the year when Massachusetts emerged as the undisputed global hub for life sciences. Some harken back to 2002 when Swiss drug maker Novartis snubbed its European scientists and moved its global research headquarters to Cambridge. Others point to 2011 when French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi plunked down $20.1 billion for Cambridge biotech Genzyme and a front-row seat in the thriving biomedical game park of Kendall Square. By the time 2014 drew to a close — with Baxter International, GE Healthcare, and Shire all scrambling to set up shop or expand here — just about every player in the biosciences industry worldwide seemingly had concluded they had to be here. Today, the Commonwealth boasts more than 600 life sciences companies and research organizations employing roughly 60,000 people and a combined payroll topping $7 billion annually, according to the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council. In recent years, Massachusetts has drawn more than 20 percent of all venture capital outlays for biotechs nationally.
3) FDA approves Amgen’s heart-failure drug Corlanor – Fox News, 4/16/15
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved Amgen Inc.’s heart-failure treatment Corlanor, which had been designated for priority review in August.
4) IBM Watson Health to hire hundreds for new Boston-area HQ – BBJ, 4/14/15
IBM will be locating its new health care analytics division in the Boston area, hiring hundreds of employees and partnering with some of the biggest names in health care to provide an umbrella analytical software able of capturing and analyzing all a person’s health information.
5) Coming up short: The state’s $1B biotech bill missed job targets. Was it still worth it? – BBJ, 4/17/15
To the extent that the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center is like a $1 billion, 10-year drug trial, its effectiveness in helping grow the state’s economy is in question more than halfway through the experiment.
The BIO International Convention is just around the corner! Vote NOW for the Buzz of BIO and help your favorite innovative biotech company secure the most votes to win a complimentary pass to the convention.
Casting your vote is easy! Head to the voting page and support your top pick. Be sure to vote by April 21, 2015 at 5:00 PM ET.
We’re rooting for our members as well as other Massachusetts based companies!
Pipelines of Promise Category
BioAegis Therapeutics is a clinical stage company harnessing the body’s innate immunity to reduce serious outcomes in diseases driven by inflammation. BioAegis is commercializing biomarker-driven therapy resulting from groundbreaking medical discoveries from Harvard Med School.
3 Reasons to Vote BioAegis Therapeutics Inc.:
1. No other molecules that modulate inflammation AND boost immune function
2. Cusp of changing way that inflammation and infection are treated
3. Broad medical impact to save lives and reduce costs!
Technologies of Tomorrow Category
Cocoon Biotech is bringing the freedom of living a healthy productive life to patients worldwide initially through treatments for osteoarthritis using natural silk microspheres as local delivery of biologics. Cocoon has completed seed financing and is demonstrating in vivo safety and efficacy.
3 Reasons to Vote Cocoon Biotech:
1. Service to others: Cocoon is tackling the largest unmet needs: over 175 million with osteoarthritis.
2. Innovation: Cocoon is harnessing the natural lubricating and drug delivery properties of silk.
3. Fiercely efficient: Achieving pre-clincial safety and efficacy with minimal funds and great team.
By Dr. Elizabeth Aylward, director of Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Office of Science-Industry Partnerships.
While there are approximately 10,000 children in the United States living with lupus, a lifelong disease that causes inflammation throughout the body, there are currently no U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medications to treat these kids, forcing physicians to prescribe medications that are approved for adult patients but may not be appropriate for developing bodies.
It’s a problem that impacts all areas of pediatric medicine. In 2013, the FDA in total approved 27 new drugs; just seven of these were approved for pediatric use. Of the 55,000 clinical trials conducted between 2005 and 2010, only 9% were designed for children.
“Funding for pediatric research lags disproportionately behind research funding for adult diseases. Thirty percent of the U.S. population is under the age of 21, and yet only 6% of the entire National Institutes of Health’s budget is devoted to pediatric medicine and care,” said Dr. Jim Hendricks, president of Seattle Children’s Research Institute. “This gap results in limited development of new therapies for children, who now often have no other choice than to use adult-only tested medications.”
Seattle Children’s is hoping to bridge the gap between promising research and potential treatments and cures for pediatric diseases by partnering with drug manufacturers and biotech companies through its new Office of Science-Industry Partnerships. Read the rest of this entry
The company is interested in licensing technologies across all disease areas and types of therapeutics—small molecules, antibodies, proteins, cell therapies, and nucleotides. BioMotiv seeks opportunities from lead optimization through IND-enabling stages of development; the company will also consider drug repurposing opportunities. Website.
Brown University is an Ivy League research university in Providence, Rhode Island, that has expertise in areas of interest to a wide array of partners and investors. Vice President for Research, David Savitz, who is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, leads the university research mission. Researchers at Brown are highly collaborative and multi-disciplinary in their approach, and welcome engagement with researchers and investors around the world. Website.
Hybrigenics Services was founded on its optimized ULTImate Y2H™ technologies enabling the identification of protein binding partners of any protein (i.e., soluble, membrane-bound, post-translationally modified), DNA, RNA or small molecule compound. Hybrigenics has recently developed the ULTImate YChemH system for target identification of small molecule compounds (i.e., drugs, antimicrobials, pesticides, etc). Over 80 cDNA libraries, representing various species, cell & tissue-types as well as different developmental stages, are available from which to screen. To date, Hybrigenics Services has performed over 8000 Y2H screens resulting in 300+ publications. We have worked with over 1500 investigators in basic, pharmaceutical, cosmetic or agro-biotech research covering 15 years of service. Website.
MacDougall Biomedical Communications Inc. (MBI) was founded in 2002 to fulfill the communications needs of small to medium sized private and public biotechnology and medical device companies. The staff at MBI has tremendous industry experience, having provided investor, corporate and scientific outreach programs to over 350 clients in the life sciences industry. MBI works with companies ranging from early stage start-ups that have no internal communications capabilities to billion dollar market cap public companies that have full time communications staff. MBI has managed major event and visibility projects for the Biotechnology Industry Organization and other regional and international biotechnology organizations. The team at MBI prides itself on being innovative and creative with a results-oriented approach to building visibility and valuation. Website.
Paratek Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of innovative therapies based upon its expertise in novel tetracycline chemistry. Paratek’s lead product candidate, omadacycline, is a new tetracycline-derived, broad-spectrum antibiotic being developed in both oral tablet and intravenous formulations for use as a first-line monotherapy antibiotic for ABSSSI, CABP, UTI and other serious community-acquired bacterial infections, particularly when antibiotic resistance is of concern to prescribing physicians. Website.
We empower and develop biomedical and public health researchers of all levels and all career stages, by focusing — in partnership with them — on the fundamentals of solid empirical study design, impeccable and persuasive writing, and leadership. Our mission is to provide unparalleled training to health-based researchers in the successful production of their studies, grants, manuscripts, related communications, and collaborations, in order to advance superior science around the world. Website.
VACUUBRAND has specialized in vacuum for science for 50 years, offering individual and multi-user solutions. For cell and tissue culture work, VACUUBRAND’s integrated BVC fluid aspiration workstations offer a safe, convenient way to contain aspirated biological media. VACUU•LAN® vacuum networks can be installed lab-by-lab in renovated spaces and new construction, with one small pump providing bench, fume-hood and BSC vacuum for multiple users in conventional labs and biocontainment suites. Website.
Post by Aimee Sprung, Civic Engagement Manager at Microsoft. Microsoft is hosting a Kendall Square Association Third Thursday Event this Thursday, April 16th, to kick-off the Cambridge Science Festival with support from MassBio and MassBioEd. Join us!
The 9th annual Cambridge Science Festival kicks off next Friday, April 17 through April 25 with an exciting series of events sure to please everyone. The annual event is the first of its kind in the United States, showcasing a wide-range of STEAM-related activities—Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and/or Math. The CSF partners with local educational institutions, including Harvard University, the Museum of Science, and the City of Cambridge to foster curiosity and creativity among students, the science community and the general public.
To gear up the festival, we asked some members of the Kendall Square Association which events they were most looking forward to. Here are their picks!
Karen Kerr, Bright Horizons at One Kendall Square (@BrightHorizons)
Tuesday, April 21
An afternoon of “Science Magic” and a chance to create lava lamps! Visit to learn how ice cubes and how our fingers can easily perform magic tricks! Children will also experiment with mixing different materials and solutions found at home, predict outcomes and finish by creating a lava lamp to take home.