Ipsen joins biotech influx into Cambridge with R&D move

France's Ipsen ($IPN) is the latest drug developer with eyes on Cambridge, MA's booming biotech hub, plotting to move its U.S. R&D activities to Kendall Square.

By 2014, Ipsen will be settled into a 62,600-square-foot space with an 11-year lease, relocating its Milford, MA, R&D headquarters to what the company said will become a center of excellence for peptides and a breeding ground for new endocrinology and oncology therapies.

Perhaps most important, the move will let Ipsen's drug development teams rub elbows with the top-tier experts at nearby universities, hospitals and biopharma companies. Ipsen joins the likes of Sanofi ($SNY), Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and Pfizer ($PFE) in looking to Cambridge's innovation corridor for some fresh ideas. By picking Kendall Square, Ipsen will be right alongside academic powerhouses like MIT and Harvard and around the bend from local R&D heavyweights like Biogen Idec ($BIIB) and Novartis ($NVS).

The environment will facilitate new partnerships and encourage open innovation, said Ipsen Milford boss Cynthia Sylvestre, and that's just what the company needs.

"Ipsen is honored and eager to join the Cambridge community, home to scientific excellence and unparalleled medical innovation," Sylvestre said in a statement. "This move reflects our commitment to remain at the cutting edge of research and development to ultimately provide life-saving therapies to patients in need."

Ipsen CSO Claude Bertrand said the relocation is part of the company's broader R&D strategy, dovetailing with its recent buyout of U.K. biotech Syntaxin. In a deal worth up to $207 million, Ipsen gets Syntaxin's promising targeted secretion-inhibitor technology, a development platform designed to prevent the cell misbehavior that leads to diseases in neurology, endocrinology and uro-oncology, the company said.

"After the acquisition of Syntaxin, a company at the cutting edge of toxin research, this move is another positive milestone in the consolidation of Ipsen's global leadership in peptides," Bertrand said.

- read Ipsen's announcement

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