Shire plots rare disease ‘innovation hub’ in Kendall Square

Shire hopes its expansion plans in major biopharma hub Kendall Square will create stronger R&D.

Shire is expanding its innovation play in Cambridge, MA, as it looks to boost its presence in Kendall Square and create a 550,000-square-foot campus focused on rare diseases.

The Irish-HQ’d biopharma said it has penned a new lease with BioMed Realty for the building at the beating heart of biotech in Kendall Square and is set to take up its new digs in 2019.

Shire already has its own place just opposite and said its expanded ops “will create a cross-disciplinary Kendall Square campus, with teams spanning research, clinical development, medical affairs, business development, and other related functions.”

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It hopes that scientists will rub shoulders and create some extra sparks of innovation for its rare disease pipeline.

“By expanding our presence in Cambridge, with its close proximity to best-in-class hospitals, research institutions, universities and a thriving biotechnology community, we will strengthen our ties with the early innovators around us to shape the next generation of breakthrough therapies for patients with high unmet needs," said Shire’s CEO Flemming Ornskov.

"These plans signify our continued growth and our deep and enduring commitment to serving patients, families and caregivers across the globe who are affected by rare diseases and highly specialized conditions."

Shire said it will retain its current office, lab, and manufacturing space in Massachusetts, as well as its site in Lexington.

The company also said that it was undertaking a “strategic review” to see who will be moving over to the digs in the coming years. It noted that it already had around 400 positions currently up for grabs in Massachusetts.

Shire hopes to have better luck than some its recent pipeline meds, as a few weeks back it quietly got rid of its rare, midstage candidate SHP610, a med that was being studied in patients with Sanfilippo syndrome type A (MPS-IIIA), after failing to hit its primary endpoint of slowing cognitive decline in patients.  

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