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1) Sanofi to pay Voyager up to $845m in gene therapy deal – Boston Globe, February 11, 2015
Sanofi has agreed to pay as much as $845 million to work with Voyager Therapeutics on gene-altering treatments for disorders including Parkinson’s disease, expanding its efforts in one of the most promising areas of treatment. Link
2) Despite Snow, Boston’s Biotech Researchers Working 24/7 For Science – WGBH News, February 12, 2015
When you think of essential workers, you probably don’t think of people wearing lab coats. Yet if biotech researchers stay home, the losses are huge. Consider for instance the value of just one lab dish: $30,000. Link
3) Eisai wins an early FDA nod for its self-described cancer blockbuster – FierceBiotech, February 13, 2015
Eisai is counting on its new cancer drug to eventually bring in more than $1 billion a year, and now, thanks to an early FDA approval, the Japanese drugmaker has a head start on making that a reality. Link
4) Genentech (RHHBY)’s Lucentis Is the First Drug to Win Approval for Diabetic Retinopathy – BioSpace, February 9, 2015
Genentech (RHHBY) , a member of the Roche Group, announced on Friday that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its drug Lucentis (ranibizumab injection) for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy in people with diabetic macular edema (DME). Link
5) Biotech boom drives blockbuster VC investments in Boston, San Francisco – FierceBiotech, February 13, 2015
The venture boom that funneled billions of dollars into life sciences companies last year included a big surge in first-time deals, according to a fresh analysis of the numbers for 2014. And the boom in venture investing looks set to continue well into 2015, according to the analysts at PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association, working with data provided by Thomson Reuters to put out the MoneyTree report. Link
Earlier this month, MassBioEd supported Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School’s “in-school field trip” where 33 ninth-grade students spent the day doing an advanced biotechnology lab. Each student used modern techniques to examine his or her own DNA to determine if he or she had the gene needed to taste a certain bitter chemical, PTC.
Diman teachers Barbara Souza, Liss O’Connell and Maureen Cooney, led the experiment with support from MassBioEd BioTeach mentor Whitney Hagins and MIT postdoctoral fellow Eric Williams. The students’ first step was to test their ability to taste PTC and make predictions about what they expected to see on their gel based upon their results. The experiment began with the isolation and extraction of DNA from each student. Then a polymerase chain reaction amplified the gene necessary for tasting PTC and the gene was analyzed by restriction digests and gel electrophoresis. The excitement was palpable as students waited to see their own DNA on the electrophoresis gels. Through this experiment, both teachers and students gained a deeper understanding of applications for biotechnology.
After a successful 2014, MassBio is getting ready to ring in the new year. We look forward to working with you in 2015, and are especially excited to celebrate our 30th anniversary with you!
Here a few of our New Year’s resolutions:
1. Take an Active Role in Defining Value in Healthcare
This year we released Impact 2020, a strategic report that calls for MassBio to work closely with our members and other healthcare stakeholders to drive the conversation on defining value in healthcare. In 2015, we will convene industry, patients, payers and providers and work to ensure that cost containment efforts protect and incentivize innovation. We will continue to put patients first and keep patients at the center of the conversation. We look forward to working with our member companies to share and amplify powerful patient stories in the year to come.
2. Connect Early-Stage Companies with Capital & Resources to Grow
Impact 2020 also addressed new challenges in capital formation and identified new and evolving models for early-stage funding. MassBio will continue to support early-stage innovation and work to connect entrepreneurs to the resources they need by deepening the resources provided through our MassCONNECT mentorship program and continuing to host Pharma Days to enhance partnering opportunities.
3. Look to the Future
As we look toward the future, cultivating talent in Massachusetts will remain a priority. In 2015, MassBio will continue to work closely with the MassBioEd Foundation to improve workforce development as we seek to inspire students to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and prepare our workforce for the life sciences jobs of the future.
MassBio wishes you a very happy new year! We are looking forward to an exciting (and busy!) year ahead!
As 2014 comes to a close and we prepare for what’s coming in 2015, I want to thank you for your involvement and support and reflect on 2014 with a Year in Review highlighting our biggest focus areas of 2014.
1. Shaping the Future
This year, MassBio released Impact 2020, a strategic report on the state of the biotechnology and life sciences cluster in Massachusetts. Impact 2020 calls Massachusetts stakeholders across industry, academia, healthcare networks, payers and government to:
- Drive the conversation on defining value and reward for innovation in the era of outcomes-focused medicine;
- Seize a leadership opportunity at the intersection of tech and life sciences;
- Evolve funding models for early-stage companies and innovative ideas;
- Improve workforce development to ensure a workforce trained for the jobs of the future & support downstream expansion; and
- Highlight patient stories to showcase the impact of innovation taking place in Massachusetts.
Impact 2020 will guide MassBio’s initiatives in the next five years, and MassBio has already started integrating the report into our programs and services.
2. Defining Value, Focusing on the Patient
MassBio joined the conversation on defining value at our Policy Leadership Breakfast in January, where a panel of experts discussed how medical innovation can exist in a new era of healthcare cost containment. We continued the discussion at the 2014 MassBio Annual Meeting and through the year with a Forum series called The Future of Biotech: Defining & Building Value in Healthcare.
No conversation on value would be complete without the patient voice, so in 2014 MassBio hosted its first ever Patient Advocacy Summit. The sold-out Summit brought industry leaders and patient advocates together to examine ways in which life sciences companies can more fully incorporate the patient voice into the work they do throughout the drug development cycle. MassBio will continue educate and support members as they seek to define and demonstrate the value of new treatments.
3. Catalyzing Innovation
MassBio supports innovation at its earliest stages. This year we matched 12 startups with teams of mentors through the MassCONNECT program. It was a banner year for MassCONNECT graduates, who have made deals with biopharma partners, won international business plan competitions and reached product milestones. We also continued to host Pharma Days, our customized, invitation-only partnering events designed to ensure pharma companies meet the right biotech and startup partners.
The findings of Impact 2020 and our annual Industry Snapshot demonstrate that early-stage funding is at a critical juncture. To start needed conversations on this, we hosted a Beg, Borrow & Crowdsource panel discussion at the Annual Meeting and three MassBio Twitter Chats (new in 2014!) on entrepreneurism, seed- and early-stage funding.
We continue to roll out unique, targeted events to convene our members with shared interests, including a new legal workshop in partnership with the American Bar Association, our annual CSO Roundtable, and a BIO Convention debrief.
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