The Boston area is arguably the world’s greatest center of life sciences, fostering both outstanding basic research and a thriving community of companies, big and small. Two of biotech’s pioneering firms, Biogen Idec and Genzyme, were founded here—Biogen is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. A number of the planet’s largest pharmaceutical makers, including Novartis, Pfizer, and Merck, have R&D operations in Cambridge or Boston. And over the past year, Xconomy has written about scores of newly launched firms in biotech, medical devices, diagnostics, and other areas of life sciences.
But the strategies that worked in the past don’t necessarily hold today. So what does it take to create the next generation of great life sciences enterprises? That’s the central question to be addressed at Xconomy’s upcoming forum: How to Build a Life Sciences Company. The half-day conference will take place the morning of September 23 at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge.
The event features a keynote chat between MIT Institute Professor Robert Langer, the dean of area biotech entrepreneurs (and an Xconomist), and Polaris Venture Partners co-founder Terry McGuire, who has teamed with Langer on a host of startups. The rest of the morning will feature a mixture of panel discussions and case studies aimed at providing a from-the-trenches look at company-building from those who are doing it today.
One panel, led by Xconomy’s national biotech editor Luke Timmerman, will look at the latest approaches to incubating life sciences companies—with representatives from Boston University’s growing startup incubator and Escoublac, the first company housed in Biogen Idec’s year-old incubator. Another panel will dive into new funding strategies for life sciences startups—strategies that include venture philanthropy, novel types of collaboration, non-traditional business models, and more. That discussion will be led by Carmichael Roberts, who has teamed with his fellow Xconomist, Harvard chemist and University Professor George Whitesides (a co-founder of Genzyme), to form several life sciences startups, and is now a general partner at North Bridge Venture Partners.
Rounding out the morning will be case studies from the founders or CEOs of some of the area’s hottest startups: Diagnostics-For-All, Cambria Pharmaceuticals, Quanterix, Enlight Biosciences, RXi Pharmaceuticals, and Fate Therapeutics.
The event begins with a continental breakfast and concludes with a networking lunch—and hopefully a few burgeoning deals or job opportunities. You can find all the details for registration here. We hope you’ll join us.