Massachusetts is wasting no time in putting its new, $1 billion biotech initiative to work. In a panel discussion yesterday at DIA's meeting in Boston, Susan Windham-Bannister, the incoming president of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, noted that the state is on the verge of rolling out new grants to back young investigators, funds for faculty training and matching grants to back collaborations between private developers and academic groups.
There's no doubt that the state money will be welcome. I asked a few members of the panel about the effect of years of flat-line budgeting at the NIH. "We rely more and more on philanthropy," says MIT's Robert Urban, the executive director of the newly minted Koch Institute. A stagnant federal research has "changed the way my medical center interrelated with private companies," added Ken Kaitin, director of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. And you can bet that medical centers will be partnering even more with the private sector in coming years.
Massachusetts, of course, is approaching the federal funding crunch from a position of strength. The Cambridge/Boston area is home to one of the most productive clusters of biotech companies in the world. And that was evident from a look at this year's Fierce 15, which we issued yesterday. Be sure to take a look, if you haven't already had a chance to read our picks of up-and-coming biotech companies. - John Carroll
P.S. If you weren't at BIO or didn't get a chance to stop by the FierceBiotech party, take a look at these photos from the event. Photo slideshow