The Year In New York Biotech—Still Trying to Make It Here

12/28/12Follow @cathyarnst

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development. A Roche spokeswoman said its placement was a very close race between New York and New Jersey, but New York won because the pharma company already has nine existing collaborations in the city with various institutions.

October

In a milestone for the region’s biotech industry, NPS Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: NPSP), in Bedminster, NJ, got a unanimous vote of approval from an FDA panel of outside experts for its drug for rare short bowel disease. NPS is finally close to getting its first drug approved, 26 years after opening its doors. Meanwhile, a new medical device company based in Manhattan, Cibiem, was launched with $10 million by the New York incubator Coridea. Big Pharma was still not interested in its own back yard, however: Pfizer agreed to buy NextWave Pharmaceuticals of Cupertino, CA, for $700 million, while Celgene went shopping in Seattle, investing $35 million in that city’s VentiRx to develop a cancer drug.

November

As the year wound down Pfizer agreed to invest $8 million in Rhythm, which is developing drugs for obesity and diabetes. Rhythm is in Boston, so at least that’s the East Coast. But Forest Labs (NYSE: FRX), also in New York, traveled to Emeryville, CA, to strike deal to pay Adamas Pharmaceuticals up to $160 million  to develop a pill combining two Alzheimer’s drugs, so the West Coast continues to score big with NY’s deep-pocketed pharmas.

December

On Dec. 21 NPS got the word that the FDA approved it drug, teduglutide, turning NPS from a discovery shop into a commercial enterprise for the first time. That was offset by bad news for another one of the region’s biotechs that has been long on promise, Amicus Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FOLD) in Cranbury, NJ. The company’s lead drug, an experimental treatment for Fabry disease, failed a Phase III clinical trial and the stock promptly plummeted by more than half. And Celgene was back in South San … Next Page »

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  • realposter

    Good coverage.

    I have 2 theories – which may or may not be correct. 1) The big pharma companies exist in the NYC metro area are in some cases 100 year old institutions – so they suck up most of the talent that is in the area. 2) the top notch research institutes are more interested in earning licensing revenues than foster entrepreneurship…(I don’t mean that in a negative way).

    Boston and San Francisco are expensive too… so that can’t be the main reason.