Termeer launches cancer research center with $10M in seed cash

Biotech pioneer Henri Termeer can now add a startup to his resume. After recently retiring from Genzyme in the wake of the big Sanofi buyout, Termeer is seeding the Henri and Belinda Termeer Center for Targeted Therapies at Massachusetts General Hospital with a $10 million donation. And he's rooting for the home team in Boston.

"I hope this will help Massachusetts be recognized globally as the knowledge center in targeted medicines,'' Termeer told Robert Weisman at The Boston Globe. "This is a global effort, but Massachusetts has the responsibility to lead, to use the talents and capabilities it has built over many years.''  

Dr. Jose Beselga, a noted cancer expert and Mass General's chief of hematology-oncology, has been tapped to lead the new research center, which will work to advance new drugs designed to attack tumors defined by a genetic profile shared by niche patient populations.

"In the future, we're going to see cancers defined not only by their site of origin but by the molecular alternations that are the drivers of particular cancers,'' Beselga told The Globe.

Termeer's $10 million is a significant sum, but it's just a start. The center has already begun to solicit more contributions from well-heeled philanthropists. Beselga will head a staff of 25 and is looking for another $10 million over the next two years to fund clinical trials and drug research.

- here's the Globe story