MassBio's Strategic Plan

Defining Value

MassBio continued its #Impact2020 Twitter Chat Series with a discussion on defining value. Impact 2020 examines the balance between value-based, evidence-based medicine in the era of healthcare reform and the uncertainty it creates for investors and entrepreneurs who seek reward for innovation and risk-taking. Value creation is, and will continue to be critical to success in the life sciences industry.

In the chat, we discussed how key stakeholders define value and how companies can work to demonstrate value in today’s healthcare system.

Click here to check out the conversation!

defining value screenshot


Rare Disease Research

MassBio continued its #Impact2020 Twitter Chat Series with a discussion of rare disease research today and tomorrow, in Massachusetts and beyond.

There are approximately 30 million people living with a rare disease in the USA, between 27 and 36 million in the EU, and collectively around the globe, the rare disease community is estimated to include 350 million people. There are more than 7,000 rare diseases, many of them with no treatment or cure.

Many rare disease therapies are under development in Massachusetts and these leading researchers are pushing for accelerated approval pathways.

In this Twitter chat, we discussed the current state of rare disease research, the clinical and regulatory challenges for rare disease research, and how patients and patient advocates are making a difference.

Click here to read the conversation!

rare twitter chat

While deal flow is healthy, 2014 will be pivotal year to assess trends in funding startups

CAMBRIDGE, MA (August 20, 2014) – Seed-stage funding in Massachusetts companies continues to grow, but 2014 investment must near $200 million to sustain five-year averages and ensure a solid startup environment into the next decade, according to an annual industry report published by MassBio.

The 2014 MassBio Industry Snapshot shows Massachusetts leads in federal research funding and venture capital invested per capita, as well as research and development jobs, but that recent dips in seed-stage funding could negatively impact innovation long-term.

“Massachusetts’ strength in the life sciences depends on its vibrant startup and early-stage research activities, but funding for those activities—the fuel for industry growth here—is getting more difficult to come by,” said Robert K. Coughlin, President & CEO of MassBio. “The Industry Snapshot and MassBio’s recent Impact 2020 report demonstrate that we must find new avenues for companies to seeking seed funding to ensure life-changing treatments make it out of the ‘valley of death’ and into the hands of patients in need.”

In aggregate, Massachusetts seed-stage deals have grown in number and size since 1999. In the last five years, Massachusetts companies have received 33.4% of all seed funding for biotech in the U.S. Over the past decade, Massachusetts has outperformed the nation in percentage of deals and investment at the seed-stage as a percentage of total venture funding.

While this is positive news, there has been a drop in MA seed-stage funding since the 2008-2010 highs and 2014 figures will determine whether the current five-year average is equal to that of the prior five-year period.

Other industry statistics are trending positive and the industry’s economic impact as measured by MA-based payroll topped $7.2 billion.

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Data shows opportunity lies in growing model of virtual biotechs & contract services

In order to fully realize the opportunities available to grow life sciences in Massachusetts, state and industry leaders must work to support the growing contract research and contract manufacturing capacity in the Commonwealth, speakers at the Massachusetts CRO/CMO Symposium said today.

Responding to survey data which shows one in every three biopharma jobs in Massachusetts is at a CRO or CMO, MassBio’s executive team announced a new campaign to advocate for changes to Massachusetts’ tax incentive and financing programs to broaden access for contract services companies. Most CROs and CMOs cannot access incentive programs under the Life Sciences Initiative or other state programs.

“Impact 2020 calls out the critical role CRO/CMOs play in drug discovery and development, and therefore the future of the life sciences industry here in Massachusetts,” said MassBio President & CEO Robert K. Coughlin. “We must reshape the state’s incentive programs in order to make the most of our opportunity. In the end, it’s about reducing the cost and speeding the time to market for new drugs and therapies for patients in need.”

Based on survey data reported by many of the state’s 225+ CRO and CMO organizations, contract services companies employee nearly 16,000 people and occupy more than 5.6 million square feet of space in Massachusetts. Estimated revenues from Massachusetts’ CRO and CMOs nears $2.5 billion.

Impact 2020, MassBio’s industry strategic report released last month, outlines a new business model for drug discovery and development where companies focus on efficiency and contract out research and manufacturing functions. Data shows this trend will continue to grow, and the report urges industry and legislative leaders to support policies that encourage this growth in Massachusetts. The report also points out that in order to sustain and nurture the Commonwealth’s strength in R&D employment, the state must respond as some of the R&D jobs that currently reside in-house transition to strategic CRO/CMO partners. The state must respond with the appropriate investment and incentive structures that recognize the transition.

“We are the world leader in life sciences not only because we are home to cutting-edge startups and Big Pharma, but also all of the services that support those companies. With the current funding climate making it much more challenging to build fully-integrated companies, we will see a continued surge in virtual companies and contract services to drive forward new treatments and cures,” said MassBio Chief Business Officer John Hallinan. “Massachusetts must evolve to reflect how the industry is changing so we can continue to lead.”

MassBio’s strategic reports have been key to strengthening the regional life sciences cluster, which today is recognized as the global leader for life sciences innovation. Developed by consulting firm Health Advances through in-depth interviews of more than 100 thought leaders, Impact 2020 recommends:

  • Driving the conversation on defining value and reward for innovation in the era of outcomes-focused medicine;
  • Seizing a leadership opportunity at the intersection of IT and life science;
  • Evolving funding models for early stage companies and innovative ideas;
  • Improving workforce development to ensure a workforce trained for the jobs of the future and support downstream expansion; and
  • Highlighting patient stories to showcase the impact of innovation taking place in Massachusetts

MassBio launched Impact 2020 on April 3, 2014. The report lays a path forward for the future of life sciences in Massachusetts, and at the heart of it all is the patient, so we decided to host a Twitter Chat about patients and patient advocacy.

Patients and patient advocates have historically played a very important role in shaping the biotechnology industry and its innovative therapies. In the future, as the healthcare system undergoes a major shift, patients will play an even more critical role.

To ensure innovative, valuable therapies make it to patients as Massachusetts and the nation implement healthcare cost containment measures, it is critical that the patient voice is not only heard, but amplified.

For this April 15 chat, we tweeted from the Life Sciences Foundation’s Voices Carry event where we heard patient advocacy perspectives from David Meeker, John Maraganore, Bill Haseltine, and Joan Finnegan Brooks.

Click here to check out the conversation!

Storify Screenshot

Building buzz for Impact 2020: The MassBio Strategic Report, we continued our #Impact2020 Twitter Chat Series last night. In the chat we focused on the evolution & future of early-stage funding in life sciences with moderator John Hallinan, Chief Business Officer at MassBio, and guest moderator David Berry, Partner at Flagship Ventures.

From pharma-based venture funds to advocacy group-directed research to crowd-funding, we’re in the midst of a sea change in how emerging biotechs find funding and address capital challenges. The IPO window reopened in 2013 but how long can we expect it to stay open? With a significant decline in seed stage funding, are Massachusetts’ good ideas being funded? How do we continue to support fledgling companies that need startup money for early research or proof-of-concept?

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Storify Screenshot!

Crossroads of Biotech & IT

Building buzz for Impact 2020: MassBio’s Strategic Report, we hosted our second Twitter Chat last night, this time focused on the intersection of biotech, tech, and devices & diagnostics in Massachusetts. Thank you to all who joined us and a special thanks to our guest moderator, Tom Hopcroft, President and CEO of Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council.

In this chat we discussed:

  • Should life sciences and technology seek to collaborate more than they do now?
  • Is the combination of devices, IT, diagnostics, and biotech potent enough to catalyze unique collaborations and spawn new industry models?
  • What can Big Data do for life sciences and vice versa?
  • Who will spearhead these partnerships and why doesn’t more seem to be happening?

Check out the conversation!

Impact 2020 Screenshot #2