Blog Archives

Top 5 News Stories: 12/14-12/20

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MassBioEd News: MassBioEd Receives Equipment and Supply Grant from Mass Life Sciences Center

Governor Deval Patrick and the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) today announced more than $3.27 million in grants to support the purchase of life sciences training equipment and supplies for 35 public high schools and training programs throughout Massachusetts. Link

1) Cubist Shares Climb As Antibiotic Scores in Phase 3 Again- Xconomy- December 16, 2013

Cubist Pharmaceuticals just got some more promising results to take to regulators next year.The Lexington, MA-based company said today that CXA-201— the antibiotic it acquired when it bought out Calixa Therapeutics a few years ago—succeeded in the second of two Phase III trials. Link

2) Local biotech IPOs raised $885M in 2013, see modest average stock gain- Boston Business Journal- December 17, 2013

In the biggest year for early-stage drug companies to go public since 2000, nine Massachusetts biotechs raised a total of $885.4 million in IPOs. Most of those were in Cambridge, and the IPOs took place between mid-March and mid-November. As of Monday, Dec. 16, four of them had increased in value, while the stock price of five has decreased from the date of the IPO. Link

3) Acceleron earns $7m milestone payment for work on kidney disease drug candidate- December 18, 2013

Acceleron Pharma Inc., a Cambridge-based biopharmaceutical company focused on protein therapeutics for cancer and rare diseases, said Wednesday that it is in line to receive a $7 million milestone payment under a collaboration agreement with New Jersey-based Celgene Corp., a biopharmaceutical company that employs more than 4,500 employees worldwide. Link

4) Locally-developed drugs approved this year will rake in at least $8B by 2018- Boston Business Journal- December 18, 2013

Massachusetts biotechs saw the U.S. approval of five drugs in the past year, including treatments for breast cancer, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. Combined, the drugs are expected to bring in more than $8 billion in 2018 – but not all of that money will come back to the Bay State. Link

5) Ariad gets OK to resume selling leukemia drug- Boston Globe- December 20, 2013

Seven weeks after Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. was forced to halt US sales of its leukemia drug, the Cambridge biotechnology company said Friday that it has won regulatory approval to resume selling the medicine with a more restrictive label and updated safety information. Link

MassBioEd BioTeach Feature: Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech Students Use MiniPCR Machines

Greater New Bedford Voc-Tech Uses MiniPCR Machines to Connect Engineering & Biology, Engage Students

GNB Voc-Tech

This fall, students at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School (GNB Voc-Tech) have been learning how to complete PCR laboratory experiments. On October 29th, they had the chance to explore the machinery behind the experiments through a visit from Dr. Sebastian Kraves and Dr. Ezequiel Alvarez Saavedra, the inventors of the miniPCR machine. The miniPCR is a thermal cycler that scientists primarily use to make multiple copies of specific DNA segments.

Dr. Kraves and Dr. Alvarez Saavedra visited the school and worked with about 60 senior biotechnology students and two teachers, showing them how to effectively use the equipment and explain the theory behind the PCR laboratory technique.

“As both inventors and scientists, Dr. Kraves and Dr. Alvarez Saavedra were particularly inspiring to our vocational students,” said GNB Voc-Tech Biology/Biotechnology teacher Scott Atkinson. “[The students] were as excited about the design and construction of the miniPCR machines as they were about the science behind the PCR lab they performed. Several other teachers mentioned that my students were discussing the experience with students in other classes throughout the day.”

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Biotech 101 Q&A with Dottie Caplan


Dottie Caplan works in Corporate Affairs for Sanofi. Back in May, Dottie took part in our Biotech 101 course. Here is what she had to say about the course.

Why did you decide to take Biotech 101? 

The scientific advancements in biotechnology will dramatically change the healthcare landscape and, while I am not a scientist, it is critical to understand the fundamentals in order to make sense of what is happening in the industry and the implications these changes will have on the future healthcare environment.

What knowledge of biotech did you have before taking this course?

I knew bits and pieces of what is happening in the biotech world but I didn’t understand all the motivations and barriers or the strategic thinking and connectivity that would allow me to really be proactive.  I am more confident and prepared to think more strategically about Biotech and what it means for the future.

What was your favorite part of the course? 

The hands-on experiments really solidified the material and content of the course.  The instructor was highly educated and informed and experienced the biotech world first hand.  Being able to see biotech through her eyes and experience was invaluable.

What do you feel you gained from this course?

I am more strategic in my thinking and I can easily engage in a business discussion on biotech with confidence.  I view events and news differently because I am able to more readily connect the dots with what is happening and understand the motivations behind the decision making and strategies being implemented.

What would you tell someone who was thinking about taking this course?

This is one of the best courses I have ever taken and you will not be disappointed.  It is worth the investment of time and money.  You would be hard-pressed to find a course of this caliber anywhere else.

There is still time to register for Biotech 101 on Dec 17th & 18th!

Register here.

We have also announced our first spring course!

Learn more and register here.

MassBioEd STEM Expo Night a Success!

On November 21, MassBioEd worked with Google to host a STEM Expo Night as a Kendall Square Association Third Thursday networking event. The evening celebrated STEM education efforts in the Kendall Square community, featured many fun hands-on science experiments and drew a crowd of about 100 people.

Special thanks to all of our exhibitors, to Google for hosting and providing beverages, to KSA, and to Phoodeez for their generous catering donation!


Thank you to everyone who participated! Here are some of the activities that took place:


Matt Micari and Robyn Boderick from Gelology helped attendees explore the science behind Jell-O while enjoying tasty treats and playing Jell-O Pac-Man. They even brought their Jell-Obama!

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Wishing You a Happy Thanksgiving

The MassBio & MassBioEd teams have plenty to give thanks for this holiday season.

We are thankful for a dynamic, inspiring community of scientists, life sciences leaders, policy leaders, and patient advocates. We are thankful for the work you do each day to ensure our family and friends can lead fuller, healthier lives.

We are thankful for your support of our initiatives as we strive to enhance the life sciences super-cluster so it continues to be an ecosystem that allows and encourages the the development of critical new science, technology and medicines that benefit people worldwide.

We are also thankful for your support of the MassBioEd Foundation and like-minded organizations committed to enhancing science and biotechnology education in Massachusetts and developing the life sciences workforce of the future.

We wish you and your families a happy, healthy Thanksgiving holiday!

Happy Thanksgiving