Blog Archives

Top 5 News Stories 12/1/14 – 12/5/14

Top 5 logo1) Allena Pharmaceuticals Secures $25 Million Series B FinancingYahoo! December 5, 2014
Allena Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative non-systemic oral protein therapeutics to treat metabolic and orphan diseases, today announced the succesful completion of a $25 million Series B financing. The financing was led by HBM Partners, joined by existing investors Frazier Healthcare, Third Rock Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners and new investor Pharmstandard International. Link

2) Amgen snags a lightning-fast approval for its leukemia immunotherapyFierceBiotech, December 3, 2014
The FDA approved Amgen’s ($AMGN) new leukemia treatment more than 5 months ahead of schedule, green-lighting the first contender among a new class of immunotherapies that promise to change the standard of care in blood cancer. Link

3) Patients make their voices heard in drug approval processBoston Globe, December 4, 2014
“We’re seeing a trend of people getting more involved in their health care decisions,” said Michael Ringel, a partner and managing director at Boston Consulting Group who focuses on health care business. “Because of the Internet, it’s a lot easier for groups to self-organize. That is helping to drive the increased involvement of patient groups.” Link

4) U.S. patients get Genzyme drug for MSBoston Herald, December 4, 2014
An injectable multiple sclerosis drug developed by Cambridge biotech giant Genzyme was made available to patients in the U.S. for the first time yesterday, less than a month after federal regulators reversed course and approved the medication. Link

5) Sky-High Genetic Cholesterol Targeted for Blockbuster Drug. Now to Find the PatientsBloomberg, December 5, 2014
Rader, head of preventive cardiology and human genetics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, is looking for fatty buildups in the knees and ankles or white arcs around the cornea of the eye. The hereditary condition he’s seeking, known as familial hypercholesterolemia, affects as many as 1.5 million Americans — a group drug companies see as one of the first markets for a set of potential blockbuster cholesterol drugs. Link

Redefining Value in the Era of Value Demonstration – Guest Post by Leora Schiff

One of MassBio’s Impact 2020 report’s key recommendations is for MassBio to begin driving the conversation on defining value and reward for innovation. To start the conversation, MassBio is hosting a three-part Forum series this fall focused on value. The series kicked off earlier this month, and the next session is on November 20th. In the meantime, we’re pleased Leora Schiff was willing to share her perspective with us!

By Leora Schiff, Principal, Altius Strategy Consulting

leoraThe biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are undergoing rapid, disruptive changes that will require rethinking of fundamental assumptions regarding the value of therapeutics and the nature of healthcare delivery. Increasingly, market power is being shifted away from physicians and payers towards patients and caregivers, professional organizations and newer stakeholders including accountable care organizations (ACOs), and pathway companies. In addition, all stakeholders are becoming more sophisticated and demanding in terms of their expectations related to the benefit-risk and benefit-cost calculations for drugs.

The price-protective nature of the US market is coming increasingly under fire. In addition to health insurers, ACOs, pathway companies and professional organizations are weighing in on the need for cost-effective treatments to improve patient outcomes and control ballooning health-care costs. Patients are also becoming more aware of the comparative price of care as they are increasingly asked to share the cost of healthcare through increased insurance premiums, large deductibles and more substantial co-payments.

As the concepts of patient-centered healthcare make their way into clinical practice, physicians are being encouraged to consider not just the patient’s clinical situation, but also the patient’s lifestyle, beliefs, financial situation and appetite for risk versus potential clinical and/or quality of life reward in selecting the best treatment choice to meet patient needs.

What does this mean for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies?

Given these changes, it is no longer possible for biopharmaceutical companies to assess product opportunities and project future product pricing and revenues based simply on broad categories of comparable therapeutics and order of market entry. In the new era of value demonstration, drugs are being evaluated in the context of the current standard of care and the additional benefit that they provide – or not – in terms of efficacy, safety, patient quality of life and cost.

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Learn Biotech Basics in Biotech 101!

Biotech 101_30One of MassBioEd’s most popular courses, Biotech 101 for Non-Scientists is being offered THIS WEEK Sept. 18 – 19, and also this winter, December 4 – 5!
To register for FALL, click here.
To register for WINTER, click here.

**MassBio members get a $150 discount on registration**

Are you new to the life sciences industry? Do you need to have a better understanding of the science and technology driving the industry? Biotech 101 is a course designed specifically for the non-scientists. The program covers two full days of biotechnology information for non-science professionals who may be working on looking to work within a science-based industry.

Participants will benefit from several hands on activities using Lego DNA models, Agarose Gels, in addition to a DNA exercise featured here:



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BioPharm America 2014 Leads Off with Fierce 15 Announcement & Keynote from Sanofi CSO

BioPharm America 2014 is only 11 days away! Have you registered yet? MassBio members save $200– just put “MassBio” in the comments field while registering.

Don’t miss the Fierce 15!

Fierce15John Carroll, Editor-in-Chief of FierceBiotech, will be giving a live announcement of the Fierce 15 at BioPharm America again this year! The Fierce 15 is a hunt that involves the biggest ideas in biotech, the most daring characters in biopharma, and entrepreneurs doing things that haven’t been done before. The Fierce 15 will include drug developers or platform biotechs with the potential to have a huge impact on the treatment of human diseases. Be there when the news breaks!


Check out the keynote & opening plenary!

The Keynote Address will be given by Gary Nabel, Chief Scientific Officer at Sanofi, and will also join the Opening Plenary.

These are exciting times, because pharma companies are going back to their roots. There’s been a major shift toward external innovation and data-driven science that guides the development of new medicines.  For academic research, we see more collaboration at earlier stages.  For biotech, we see relationships built at different points in the evolution of new medicines, and we are using structures and support that incentivize both partners to achieve success,” said Nabel.

The Opening Plenary will address “Getting real: Biopharma innovation and its impact on patients” with:

  • Barry Greene, President and COO at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
  • Adam M. Koppel, Senior VP and Chief Strategy Officer at Biogen Idec
  • Richard Pops, Chairman and CEO at Alkermes plc.
  • Karen Bernstein, Co-Founder, Chairman, and Editor-in-Chief at BioCentury (Moderator)

Global pharmaceutical companies already confirmed to send business development teams to BioPharm America include AstraZeneca; Bayer HealthCare; Bristol-Myers Squibb; EMD Serono; Merck; Novo Nordisk; Sanofi; and Shire.

We look forward to seeing you at BioPharm America!


Partnering for BioPharm America 2014 Now Open!

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BioPharm America
, being held September 22-24 in Boston, is where biotech industry partnerships get started. Meet face-to-face with biotech and pharma executives from around the world to identify and enter strategic relationships. Equipped with partneringONE®, the world’s leading web-based partnering system for the life science industry, BioPharm America is the only event in North America based on the same reputable formula as EBD Group’s acclaimed European events BIO-Europe® and BIO-Europe Spring®.

Partnering, facilitated by EBD Group’s online partnering system partneringONE®, is the most efficient way to find and meet the right people for your company’s collaborative aims.

11 meetings in 2½ days
The average company has 11 meetings with existing and potential partners, customers and clients in 2½ days.

Benefits of partneringONE®:

  • Conduct more meetings at one conference than in the rest of the year
  • Contact existing and potential partners prior to the conference
  • Manage all your conference activities in one place
  • Your meetings will be prescheduled to maximize your time on site.

***MassBio members get $200 off – mention Massbio in the registration comments field!***




“We had a first partnering meeting with Teva at this conference a year ago. At this year’s event we are announcing the closing of a deal with Teva worth a potential $165M. That is what I call a return on investment in a conference!”
CEO, Rexahn Pharmaceutical

“Partnering starts with science scouts who are trolling their territories to find gems for us. These kinds of candidates are here, giving us the opportunity to screen 20 potential investment opportunities in a very short period of time. Doing this otherwise would require significant travel and time.”
Executive Director, Corporate Licensing, Merck & Co.

“Four people from my company were attending one-to-one meetings at the event seeking out opportunities to build up companies and novel programs from scratch. ”
Life Sciences Partner, Atlas Venture

See the program & register today!