Blog Archives

Top 5 News Stories 6/14 – 6/20

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1) FDA approves new Cubist antibioticBoston Globe, June 20, 2014

Cubist Pharmaceuticals Inc. won US regulatory approval Friday to sell a new antibiotic that fights hard-to-treat skin infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA, a growing public health threat. Link

2) EMD Serono Celebrates 10 Years of STEM Education Support at BIO International ConventionMassachusetts News, June 19, 2014

EMD Serono’s President and Managing Director Paris Panayiotopoulos will celebrate the company’s longstanding commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education—including a 10-year, $500,000 investment in the MassBioEd Foundation—at the BIO International Convention in San Diego next week. Link

3) New record set for most Massachusetts biotech IPOs in a year - Beta Boston, June 18, 2014

Not quite halfway through 2014 and the biotech industry in Massachusetts has already hit a milestone: a record number of young companies debuting on the big stage on Wall Street. Link

4) Pfizer adopts different style for new research centerBoston Globe, June 15, 2014

This is what happens when Big Pharma meets Kendall Square. Abandoning their closed-door offices and cloistered campuses, scientists at Pfizer Inc.’s new research center here are experimenting with the vibe of working in open spaces, sharing ideas, and mixing it up with their academic and biotech neighbors. Trading in stodgy for hip, they even have a lab with black walls dubbed the “pink flamingo lounge.” Link

5) Tweet This: FDA Finally Proposes Social Media Guidelines – Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2014

After several years of anticipation, the FDA has finally proposed a pair of guidelines for how drug and device makers should cope with some of the challenges and pitfalls posed by social media. Link

MassBio will host a member briefing on the new FDA guidelines the week of June 30th – stay tuned for details coming soon!

12 Schools Join MassBioEd BioTeach Program



Our partner in STEM education, MassBioEd, will expand its biotechnology education program, BioTeach, to 12 new public high schools this year!

MassBioEd will use its $250,000 grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center STEM Equipment and Supplies Grant Program to provide 10 schools with professional development for teachers, curriculum for biotech labs, access to student career exploration experiences, and up to $24,873 each for materials and equipment for school labs. MassBioEd Foundation will also fund two additional schools for the program and $5,000 towards lab equipment.

By providing Massachusetts students with lab experiences in high schools across the state through the BioTeach program, MassBioEd Foundation hopes to inspire students to pursue educational opportunities and careers in the life sciences and biotechnology industry.

The 10 schools funded by the MLSC’s grant are:

  •  Attleboro High School
  •  Bartlett Junior/Senior High School
  •  Boston Day and Evening Academy
  •  Springfield Central High School
  •  Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School
  •  Global Learning Charter Public School
  •  Health and Humans Services High School at Lawrence High
  •  North High School/STEM-Early College High School
  •  Wakefield Memorial High School
  •  William Dean Technical High School

The MassBioEd supported schools for this year are:

  • Uxbridge High School
  • Woburn Memorial High School

These schools are all new to the BioTeach program, bringing the total number of participating BioTeach public schools in Massachusetts to 201. Read the full press release here. Learn more about MassBioEd and BioTeach at

Congratulations and welcome to the new BioTeach schools!

Guest Post: Strengthening Relationships Through Negotiation

Guest Post by Gwen Acton, PhD, CEO of Vivo Group

Gwen Acton, PhD

Sometimes people confuse “tough” negotiation with “good” negotiation. They think that if they push hard and argue adamantly, they will get what they want. The problem with this approach is that they might succeed in achieving short-term outcomes, but they often fail with longer-term objectives that arise from building better relationships with colleagues.

It is tempting to focus on the short-term results of a negotiation. However, a far more valuable outcome is the ability not only to reach a mutually agreeable solution to the current situation, but to have the negotiation process actually contribute to a stronger relationship with the other party over the long term.

One of the best ways to achieve this is by seeking a “win-win” solution to negotiations, rather than a “win-lose” outcome. In the former approach, parties are happy with the solution, which enhances their ability to collaborate together in the future. In contrast, a win-lose approach can leave one party unsatisfied, putting strains on an on-going working relationship.

To achieve win-win solutions often requires understanding the underlying “interests” of the other party. People will often state a “position” on a subject – what they say they want. But is more valuable to understand what drives and motivates their position – in other words the desires and goals that explain why they want the stated outcome. With that information, you can look for ways in which there are solutions that are a “win” for both parties.

These are just a few elements of negotiation that will be shared at MassBioEd‘s upcoming one-day workshop, Negotiation Tactics for Scientists, offered on Friday June 13th, 2014.

Click here to learn more and to register!


About the author:

Gwen Acton, PhD is CEO of Vivo Group, a firm that specializes in improving the leadership and management capabilities of technical experts so they can be more productive and innovative in industry. She is the instructor for MassBioEd‘s upcoming Negotiation Tactics for Scientists, Transitioning from Individual Contributor to Leader/Manager, and Strategic Thinking courses.

Guest Posting Disclaimer: Guest Postings on the MassBioHQ blog are submitted by individual guest posters and in no way represent the opinions or endorsement of MassBio or MassBio employees. MassBio does not represent or guarantee the truthfulness, accuracy, or reliability of statements or facts posted under the Guest Postings on the MassBioHQ blog.

Top 5 News Stories 5/24 – 5/30

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1) Biotech Futures event at WPI tries to get high schoolers into life sciences - Boston Business Journal, May 29, 2014

A program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute aimed at getting high school kids interested in the life sciences hosted 240 students from eight Massachusetts high schools in the past week. Link

2) Franklin get biotech industry nod - Worcester Business Journal, May 27, 2014

Franklin is as ready as it can possibly be for biotechnology companies, according to a statewide industry group. The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio) upgraded Franklin’s biotech readiness (BioReady) status Friday from “gold” to “platinum” due to improvements in zoning bylaws, building codes and other business-related criteria. Link

3) Sarepta’s new manufacturing facility will be in Andover – Boston Business Journal, May 28, 2014

Sarepta is buying an 18-year-old manufacturing facility in Andover from Tokyo-based drug maker Eisai in a deal expected to close by July 8. Link

4) Bristol-Myers adds $1.24B deal plus a partnership in immuno-oncology deal frenzy - Fierce Biotech, May 27, 2014

Following fast on the heels of two earlier immuno-oncology partnerships, Incyte has agreed to partner its prolific IDO inhibitor INCB24360 with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s marquee PD-1 program for nivolumab. Link

5) AbbVie heralds early success with its brain cancer-fighting armed antibody - Fierce Biotech, May 30, 2014

While a host of cancer immunotherapies angle for attention at Chicago’s American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, AbbVie is touting early data on an antibody-drug conjugate with promise in a tough-to-treat form of brain cancer. Link

240 High School Students Explore Biotech Futures

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Over the course of two days – last Thursday and today – more than 240 Massachusetts high school students and teachers participated in Biotech Futures, a career exploration event featuring scientist speakers, panel presentations, company presentations, science demonstrations and laboratory projects at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).


The program, organized by MassBio’s sister organization, MassBioEd, is part of an ongoing effort to increase interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.


Throughout the day, students participated in several hands-on labs showcasing cutting-edge topics and techniques. They used microscopy to learn how fluorescent proteins can be used to identify cells, cellular structures and in screens for new therapeutics. Students explored how the brain translates sensory stimuli into behavior using honey bees as a model. They also worked with nano-scale materials to make a functional solar energy cell. Read the rest of this entry