Anyone looking to start a biotech company should pay close attention to this list. Venture groups, entrepreneurs and increasingly Big Pharma have been concentrating their money and their attention in a few key places, only occasionally straying from the beaten path when funding a high-risk drug development effort.
Right now, the stars are all aligned for the Boston biotech hub. It has the venture capital, leading academic and industry researchers, an experienced cast of serial biotech entrepreneurs and a strongly beating heart of innovation in Cambridge that has attracted the rapt attention of the world's biggest pharma companies.
When Merck announced a massive shakeup of its R&D operations, the pharma giant left out any pesky details. But Wall Street Journal writers Peter Loftus and Jonathan Rockoff have come up with some of the first key brushstrokes of what they termed a "radical overhaul."
Over the past 5 years, the main arteries of drug R&D have pointed straight to the world's biggest biopharma hubs. As hubs have grown, outlying R&D operations have been steadily trimmed away.
The Boston biopharma boom has intensified demand for R&D space in and around the city, with firms big and small alike setting up in the area. While many of the sites focus on early research, the candidates they move into the clinic and beyond will need production capacity, and this has led to a new development project.
Over the past few years, Boston and Cambridge have emerged as one of the top global epicenters of the biopharma R&D industry, attracting a slew of companies big and small. And a developer is blueprinting plans for a sprawling 355,000-square-foot complex that could appeal to some of the companies plotting an expansion or relocation.
In designing the operation, it had always intended on expanding there, adding one of the biologic products that are becoming more important to its future.
J&J is about to make a big entrance in the Boston/Cambridge hub. The Boston Business Journal reports today that the pharma giant has taken a lease on new digs in Kendall Square for one of its four global innovation centers--putting it right in the heart of one of the busiest biotech regions in the world.
Sanofi has had a string of regulatory successes to boast about recently. There have been approvals for Kynamro, Zaltrap, Aubagio and Lyxumia in Europe. A decision on Lemtrada is on its way. And while all sorts of questions remain over just how much money these new drugs will earn, the pharma giant's regulatory wins have eased some of the pressure to prove that it can develop new drugs and win approvals.
Even a casual observer of the biotech industry would know that Cambridge, MA, has seen a booming biotech sector fueled with a steady stream of venture deals. And in a year when venture deals and dollars have been considerably constricted overall, the Cambridge hub has continued to hum with VC activity.