Proving once again that Christoph Westphal has some of the best connections in the biotech industry, the controversial entrepreneur has pieced together a $40 million financing round for his new startup Flex Pharma. And he did it by tapping a long lineup of investors, including some high profile individuals in the Boston area.
GSK vet Jason Gardner is the newly named VP for R&D in the greater Boston area, in charge of a small but growing team of specialists at a brand-new satellite facility that will help coordinate not only the 25-or-so ongoing scientific collaborations with groups like the Harvard Stem Cell Institute but also biotech partnerships with the likes of Epizyme.
Further concentrating life science powerhouses around Boston, GE Healthcare Life Sciences will open a new U.S. headquarters in Marlborough, MA. It's expected to house more than 500 employees, including at least 220 new hires.
Put a scientific discovery in the lab together with experienced biopharma executives and high-profile investors focused on new ideas in Cambridge, MA, and you get Lysosomal Therapeutics, a newly hatched biotech venture which plans to follow the genetic underpinnings of Gaucher disease into the clinic with an experimental therapy that can also address Parkinson's disease.
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.