Reeves to Menino: Cambridge is the Brains of Biotech

7/26/07

Boston’s mayor, Tom Menino, isn’t known for precise comments to the media (they don’t call him Mumbles for nothing) but something in Tuesday’s Boston Globe struck us as wacky, even for him. In an article about a big new lab that Joslin Diabetes Center is building in the Longwood Medical Area, Jeffrey Krasner wrote: “Menino said the project is a sign that the epicenter of the local biotech cluster may be moving from Kendall Square in Cambridge to the Longwood area in Boston.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” says the always-candid Willy Lensch, an Xconomist and himself a member of the Longwood biotech community. That pretty much summed up our feelings about it, particularly since we spent a shocking percentage of our time this spring competing with local biotech (and other) startups for office space in Kendall Square. But we thought we’d give Cambridge Mayor Ken Reeves a chance to respond as well.

Reeves, in an e-mail, was a bit more diplomatic: “Boston remains the important ‘Hub’ in Massachusetts, but there’s no doubt that Cambridge is the ‘brains’ of Biotech with M.I.T, Harvard, Biogen Idec, Genzyme, Novartis, and Vertex all headquartered in Cambridge.” Damn straight, Mr. Mayor.

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  • Richard

    You go, Ken. The Mayor (Reeves, that is) has it right.

    You have to wonder, though, if the “Cantabridgian-on-the-street” gets it. Get a bit west of Kendall, or into the residential streets of adjacent East Cambridge, and anyone not immediately involved seems more or less unaware of who’s who in Kendall, or even if it’s “really” Cambridge, for that matter. This seems related to the local sport of MIT & Harvard bashing, especially where development is involved. (Is there any message here in Harvard’s long-term plans for major expansion into Allston?)

    No matter. Cambridge has bragging rights, at least for the time being, and that doesn’t seem to be endangered.

  • amalia sodi

    Ken Reeves is now a City Councilor not Mayor of the People’s Republic. The Mayor is the Honorable Denise Simmons. As for the residents of East Cambridge, no one on the City Council cares about their safety or what they think. Go ahead Councilor Reeves, keep bragging about bringing Level 3 labs into one the most densely populated neighborhoods in the country. Great achievement with two charter schools, three elderly/disabled housing complexes, two housing projects and no evacuation plan in the event of accident. Go ahead, Councilor Reeves, keep bragging.