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.
The French drugmaker not only recruited a top official at the National Institutes of Health to be its chief scientific officer. It also decided to place him in the Boston area, where it set up an R&D hub last year.
Intarcia Therapeutics this morning unveiled a whopping $210 million in fresh financing to back its Phase III program for ITCA 650, which aims to be the first once-yearly, injection-free GLP-1 therapy. And the biotech says it will join the big migration to the thriving Boston hub, relocating its headquarters in California while keeping a manufacturing site in Hayward.
Sanofi's decision to pull its R&D operations out of Bridgewater, NJ and relocate to Boston has left a 1.2 million-square-foot problem for state and local economic development officials to deal with.