Servier opens Kendall Square site, plans Chinese office to access external innovation

Cambridge Innovation Center, the home of Servier's new office. (Cambridge Innovation Center)

Servier has opened a site in Kendall Square and staffed it with people from Biogen and the University of Massachusetts to find R&D and licensing opportunities. News of the office opening comes shortly after the French company stepped up its U.S. strategy with a $2.4 billion deal for Shire’s oncology unit.

The Shire deal will give Servier an immediate commercial presence in the U.S. The Kendall Square office, which was in the works before the Shire deal was inked, will complement these assets by putting Servier in contact with an innovative drug research and development community.

Servier has hired Christian Schubert, Ph.D., and Rekha Paleyanda, Ph.D., to help it forge those links. Schubert joins Servier from Biogen, where he worked as director of corporate strategy, business development and external innovation. At Servier, Schubert is heading up U.S. R&D and external innovation at the Kendall Square office, dubbed Servier BioInnovation.

Schubert is joined at the site by Paleyanda, who will serve as Servier’s U.S. business development and licensing director. The appointment brings Paleyanda back to industry after more than 10 years away. In that time, Paleyanda worked at Massachusetts General Hospital and, more recently, at the University of Massachusetts. The roles involved licensing and technology commercialization, giving Paleyanda the contacts and skills to execute Servier’s plans for its Massachusetts office.   

“Servier BioInnovation represents Servier’s commitment to expanding its growing presence in the U.S. for the long-term through R&D and business development and licensing activities,” Christophe Thurieau, Ph.D., director of the Servier International Research Network, said in a statement. “The Boston area provides an amazing concentration of innovation, especially in the field of oncology, for partnerships that will advance science.”

The U.S. office is part of a broader global expansion strategy now underway at Servier. As well as the aforementioned Shire deal, Servier is also working to add an office in Beijing to its research network.