Blog Archives

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

Guest Post: The Value of Strategic Thinking

Guest Post by Gwen Acton, Ph.D., CEO of Vivo Group

Gwen Acton, PhD

Would you like to put out fewer fires and be more effective at work? The solution might be to devote more time to strategic thinking and planning.

The good news about strategic thinking is that it isn’t actually difficult – it is as much a discipline as a skill. Most of us know how to think strategically, but we don’t set aside the time to do it because there is a constant temptation to focus on solving the problems in front of us.

After all, most people in life sciences became successful because they were good at tactics – that is solving problems and getting things done. But, if we are too focused on tactical issues, we can lose sight of the strategic approaches. This can result in our being busy, but not actually getting much done.

Strategic thinking is systematic approach to identifying important goals, and evaluating options to accomplish those goals. Strategic thinking involves long term planning, setting goals and determining priorities, and identifying potential risks and opportunities.

Components of strategic thinking include:

  1. Establishing clear, long-term vision
  2. Systematic analysis of current and future states
  3. Deliberate evaluation of options and risks
  4. Determination of priorities
  5. Continuous feedback and learning
  6. Reevaluation of strategy on a regular basis.

These are just a few aspects of an array of strategic thinking and planning skills presented in MassBioEd’s upcoming Strategic Thinking course being offered on May 28th, 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 Strategic ThinkingNegotiation Tactics for Scientists, and Transitioning from Individual Contributor to Leader/Manager 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.

MassBio Hosts First Take Our Daughters & Sons to MassBio Day!

Today, April 24th, is National Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work Day. This morning, MassBio & MassBioEd welcomed MassBio members and their children to the office for a morning of fun biotechnology activities!  DSC_0020

At the microscope station, young scientists observed fruit flies, yeast, and more!


At the front of the room, the young scientists shared drawings of what their parents do and what comes to mind when they think of the word “biotechnology” on our IdeaPaint wall.

Read the rest of this entry

MassBio Annual Meeting 2014 Highlights

Nearly 400 biotechnology industry leaders gathered last week at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Cambridge, right in the heart of the state’s biotech cluster, to participate in MassBio’s 2014 Annual Meeting.

The meeting took place over two days, and included discussions on relationships between biotech, pharma, investors, & academia, value cost effectiveness, funding early stage companies, clinical trial trends, and more. At the Annual Meeting, we also we released our quinquennial industry strategic report, Impact 2020.

Day 1

The Annual Meeting kicked off with welcome remarks by Bob Coughlin, President & CEO of MassBio, as well as an overview of the meeting agenda.

“While we are riding a renaissance of life sciences funding, scientific advances and new product approvals in 2014, Impact 2020 identified real threats to the long-term viability of the model. We must take action to ensure our ability, regionally and as an industry, to continue delivering breakthroughs that benefit patients worldwide.” -Robert Coughlin, President & CEO of MassBio

In an opening keynote, Brad Margus, CEO of Genome Bridge shared his personal journey of working to advance research for ataxia-telangiectasia, or A-T, an extremely rare disease.

At the awards luncheon on Thursday afternoon, Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School received the Joshua Boger Innovative School of the Year Award from MassBioEd, presented by Takeda. We heard from Assabet teacher Monica Hayes, and student Alexander McMahon who shared his passion for pursuing a career in biotechnology.

“The STEM Alliance Team is promoting collaboration between the vocational shops and academic areas with a goal of exposing more students to meaningful, hands-on STEM curriculum.” – Monica Hayes, Assabet Valley Teacher

Read the rest of this entry

Top 5 News Stories 3/29 – 4/5

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1) Coverage of the MassBio Annual Meeting:

2) Biogen’s stock slide is halted by hemophilia drug approval in the U.S.Boston Business Journal 3/31/14

The U.S. approval of Biogen Idec’s first hemophelia drug has helped reverse — for now — one of the fastest stock slides the company has seen in recent years, while analyst optimism has not wavered in the face of the recent biotech selloff. Link

3) Stallergenes beats Merck to market as FDA OKs its allergy pill - Fierce Biotech 4/2/14

France’s Stallergenes won FDA approval to market the U.S.’s first oral immunotherapy for grass allergies, giving it a head start on rival Merck ($MRK), which expects to launch a similar product this year. Link

4) Forma Therapeutics makes deal with Celgene potentially worth $600M - Boston Business Journal 4/1/14

Watertown biotech firm Forma Therapeutics has announced a collaboration with drug giant Celgene Corp. potentially worth $600 million over the course of the next several years. Link

5) FDA panel votes in favor of approval for Cubist’s new MRSA drug – Boston Business Journal 3/31/14

An advisory committee to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration voted unanimously in favor of approval for the newest antibiotic by Cubist Pharmaceuticals, according to a spokeswoman for the company. Link