Massachusetts economic development officials have scored a modest coup ahead of the big BIO gathering next week. The U.K.'s Xenetic BioSciences is planning to shift R&D operations to the Boston biotech hub, with plans to build the staff to about 20 by the end of next year.
For Xenetic, formerly known as Lipoxen, the move is designed to help spread its reputation and escape the market cloud that seems to hover over U.K. drug developers. The biotech has already gained the support of a Russian investment arm--supporting a dozen development programs in Russia--and feels that a presence in the big Boston cluster will pave the way to a dual public listing for the company's stock.
"When I present at conferences in the U.S., they think our market cap is five to ten times higher than it actually is and they are quite shocked that it's $35 million and not $250/350 million," CEO Scott Maguire told Proactive Investor. "Shire was a UK based biotech company focused on orphan drugs. They opened up a Boston drug development center in the late '90s, dual listed, and now they are a $30 billion dollar company."
Henry Hoppe, an experienced Genzyme vet, is heading up the Boston unit, focusing on new drugs for rare diseases. The Boston Globe reports that the unit will probably land in the Waltham/Lexington area.