The life sciences version of the Cambridge Innovation Center dubbed “Lab Central” broke ground on Thursday as supporters applauded the nonprofit center that will be home to as many as 60 entrepreneurs and biotech start-ups. Link
MassBio is proud to be a LabCentral partner and we look forward to working with their team to support entrepreneurs and start-ups in Cambridge! Check out our photos from the groundbreaking here!
2) BIND Therapeutics seals deal with Pfizer worth up to $210M – Mass High Tech- 4/3/2013
Clinical stage biopharma BIND Therapeutics will collaborate with Pfizer Inc. on the development and commercialization of Accurins, which are targeted and programmable therapeutics that will potentially improve patient outcomes in the areas of oncology, inflammatory diseases and cardiovascular disorders.Formerly known as BIND Biosciences, the venture-backed, Cambridge, Mass.-based company, develops nanoparticle technology that concentrates a drug right at the site of cancer cells (which minimizes exposure to the healthy tissue and decreases side effects), sealed a deal with New York-based Pfizer that will result in $50 million in upfront and development milestone payments, plus approximately $160 in regulatory and sales milestone payments for each Accurin commercialized plus tiered royalties on potential future sales. Link
3) Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Announces $1.3 Million in Capital Grant Funding for Projects in Northeastern Massachusetts - PBR- 4/3/2013
The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) today announced $1.3 million in grants for life-sciences-related capital projects in Northeastern Massachusetts. This total includes $1.24 million for Northern Essex Community College (NECC) to renovate its laboratory space to accommodate the rapidly growing enrollment of students in laboratory sciences, and a $50,000 planning grant for Middlesex Community College (MCC) to expand its biotechnology facilities. The MLSC has funded Science, Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) education in Northeastern Massachusetts through a variety of grants, including more than $500,000 that the MLSC announced this past December for equipment and supply grants to vocational technical schools and public high schools in Northeastern Massachusetts. Link
4) FDA OKs first-of-its-kind diabetes drug from J&J - Boston.com- 3/29/2013
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved a first-of-its-kind diabetes drug from Johnson & Johnson that uses a new method to lower blood sugar — flushing it out in patients’ urine. Link
5) Biogen Idec’s new pill to treat MS will cost about $54,900 per patient annually – Boston.com– 3/29/2013
Biogen Idec Inc. said Friday it will price Tecfidera, its newly approved pill to treat multiple sclerosis, at $54,900 a year per patient in the United States. Officials at the Weston-based biotechnology company said the figure represents a “solid value” for MS patients, who will take the capsule twice a day. Most MS treatments now on the market have to be injected or taken through intravenous infusion. Link
Halfway through a decade of investment promised by Governor Deval Patrick’s 10-year, $1 billion life-sciences initiative, launched in 2008, the state has spent only about a third of the money targeted to promote the biotechnology and medical device industries in Massachusetts. Link
2) US Food and Drug Administration approves Novartis inhaler to treat lung infection in cystic fibrosis patients – The Economic Times– 3/23/2013
US health regulators approved on Friday a hand-held inhaler made by Swiss drug maker Novartis AG to treat a type of bacterial lung infection that often affects cystic fibrosis patients. Novartis’s TOBI Podhaler contains a dry powder formulation of tobramycin, an antibiotic used to treat lung infection caused by the pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria. Link
3) Mass. gives $2m in scholarships for needed degrees – Boston Globe – 3/26/2013
In a renewed effort to boost the number of college graduates in fast-growing fields, Massachusetts has awarded $2 million in scholarships to public college students pursuing degrees in science, business, and health care. Link
4) Kraft Group backs autism test startup SynapDx, 3rd funding for firm since Dec. - Mass High Tech – 3/27/2013
The Kraft Group, owner of the New England Patriots and numerous other businesses, has made a “significant investment” into Southborough-based SynapDx, which is developing an early detection blood-based test for autism spectrum disorder. Link
5) FDA approves multiple sclerosis capsules - USA Today – 3/27/2013
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it has approved a new drug from Biogen Idec to control multiple sclerosis in adults with hard-to-treat forms of the disease. Link
The MassBioEd Foundation will expand its proven biotech education program, BioTeach, to eight new public high schools this year, thanks to a grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC). MassBioEd will use the $250,000 from the MLSC’s Equipment and Supplies for Skills Training and Education Program to provide schools with professional development for teachers, curriculum for three biotech labs, and up to $16,000 for materials and equipment for school labs. Link
2) LabCentral gets $5M boost for new lab space - Mass High Tech – 2/7/2013
LabCentral, a pilot incubator for biotech startups, has received a $5 million boost that will help pay for its space slated to open in November. The non-profit located in Cambridge’s Kendall Square will rent lab space to startups instead of the small businesses having to dole out large amounts of startup cash for their own large-scale wet labs, infrastructure, facilities and equipment, according to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC), which has provided the $5 million in funding toward the project. Link
3) Biogen pays Elan $3.25 billion to take over MS drug - Reuters – 2/6/2013
Biogen Idec is to take full ownership of blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri after agreeing to pay Irish partner Elan $3.25 billion plus future royalties on sales of the drug. Irish drugmaker Elan, which has co-marketed the drug with the larger U.S. company for 12 years, said it would receive a royalty of 12 percent of Tysabri global net sales for the first 12 months after the restructuring closes. Link
4) Blend Therapeutics’ Robert Langer, others honored by President Obama - Mass High Tech – 2/4/2013
It’s no secret that Massachusetts is a hotbed for innovation and technology, but when President Barack Obama acknowledges it by awarding several Massachusetts innovators and tech companies, bragging rights increase tenfold. Just weeks after Blend Therapeutics first heard word that its co-founder would be receiving the National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Barack Obama, serial entrepreneur Robert Langer and others from the Bay State got to go to the White House, meet the President and receive their awards. Link
5) Verastem launches ovarian cancer trial - Boston Business Journal – 2/5/2013
Verastem Inc. (Nasdaq: VSTM) has launched an early stage human trial to test its cancer drug candidate in patients with ovarian cancer. The potential therapy is designed to kill cancer stem cells, which are thought to be key to the spread of the disease. This is the first of three planned trials using drug candidates with the same mechanism, including a planned study in patients with mesothelioma, which is expected to begin mid-year. Link
Reflection is enriching and productive. From it, we draw inspiration, glean wisdom, and learn from our successes and failures.
Each year in October, life sciences CEOs gather in Laguna Beach, California for an exclusive retreat, the annual Biotech Meeting. First organized in 1987 by West Coast financiers Brook Byers and G. Steven Burrill, the three-day event facilitates communication, cooperation, and esprit de corps. To commemorate the recent 25th anniversary of the meeting, the Life Sciences Foundation (LSF) was commissioned to produce a highly-illustrated coffee table book – Honoring 25 Years of Biotech Leadership. The book recognizes outstanding individuals, companies, and scientific achievements inducted into the Biotech Hall of Fame. While book distribution has been limited to Biotech Meeting participants and Biotech Hall of Fame award winners and contributors, we’re happy to share some highlights with the MassBioHQ readership.
Massachusetts is well-represented. Local life sciences entrepreneurs and executives recognized for their abilities to tolerate high degrees of risk, create innovative R&D organizations, and scale towering commercial and technological heights include Joshua Boger, Mark Levin, Gabriel Schmergel, Henri Termeer, and Christoph Westphal. Honored companies include some of the state’s leading life sciences firms:
Alkermes has established itself as a leader in diseases of the central nervous system. CEO Richard Pops shifted the focus from drug delivery to drug development with great success.
Biogen was Boston’s first molecular biology company. It was founded in 1978 by Harvard’s Walter Gilbert, MIT’s Phillip Sharp, and group of international scientific colleagues. In 2003, Biogen merged with San Diego-based Idec Pharmaceuticals to become the world’s third largest biotech company.