Future of Life Science Industry to be Discussed by Panel at Chamber’s Virtual Event

The Charles River Regional Chamber will host a virtual panel discussion focusing on the future of the life science sector in the area, development and more. “The Value of Life Science Development and Future Impact,” will take place on Thursday, April 13, from 11 a.m. to noon via Zoom. The event is free and open to members & nonmembers. The Chamber provided the following description:

There’s been plenty of worrisome headlines about the fate of Greater Boston’s life science sector. An oversaturated real estate market? Declining stock values and IPOs?

OP-ED: How Safe is Watertown from a Bio Lab Emergency? Part 4: Conclusions

By Linda ScottWatertown Resident

A Thank You

First, if you have been following this series, you know that many people have dedicated their time to helping Watertown residents understand this issue. I thank Provisional Chief Nicholson, Director of Health Larry Ramdin, industry professionals, including Heather McManus, for context on the biotech industry, and the volunteer BioSafety Committee for literally showing us how it’s done. I entered this process with some serious questions about how we were handling our new (and potentially dangerous) corporate neighbors. I have learned that the Fire Department, with the help of a new Lab Safety Fire Captain is “on it” and that the BioSafety Committee, with their tremendous knowledge in the Life Sciences field is tirelessly committed to making this new venture work and work safely for Watertown, despite persistent information sharing problems with the Health Department. (See BioSafety Meeting Feb.

OP-ED: How Safe is Watertown From a Bio Lab Emergency? Part 1

By Linda ScottWatertown Resident

In both numerous news articles about Watertown becoming a biotech hub and from our own personal observations here in Watertown, the vast and rapid proliferation of biotech buildings is looming large. It has become a grave concern for me and for many in this community. And in Waltham, a neighboring city, it was recently reported in the Globe that there was a chemical spill at the Waltham Azenta Life Sciences Lab, involving a liter to a gallon of acid-based, flammable solvent, and requiring the Waltham Fire Department and the Massachusetts State Hazmat team to be called in for assistance. Because of the massive proliferation of bio lab space in Watertown and a recent bio lab chemical spill just next door in Waltham, I decided that it was worth taking a closer look at Watertown’s biosafety preparedness status. To do so, I reviewed the Watertown Biosafety Committee meetings and regulations and City Council meetings.

Watertown BioSafety Committee Shares How it Oversees Life Science Companies

An illustration of the different BioSafety Level labs. Watertown has more than 60 life science companies, and more on the way, and they must go through the Watertown BioSafety Committee before they can start operating. Last week, the City Council got an update on what the committee has been doing in its first 2.5 years. The BioSafety Committee was formed as part of the Watertown Biotechnology Regulation, which was adopted by the Watertown Board of Health in 2019 and took effect in July 2020. Existing companies had to come before the BioSafety Committee within a year of the regulations taking effect, and new companies had to come before the committee.

Watertown Company Creating Way to Dramatically Cut the Number of Pills Patients Take

Lyndra TherapeuticsA prototype of Lyndra’s stellate medical platform is placed in a machine to undergo stress testing. A company with headquarters in the East End of Watertown will soon start the final trials for a way of delivering drugs that would allow patients to take just one pill a week instead of seven pills or more. And the company is working on technology that could cut it to just two or even one a pill a month. Lyndra Therapeutics moved to its space on Grove Street in 2017, and employs nearly 130 people there, in Lexington, or who work remotely. The company also helps train the next generation of life scientists by working with students from colleges in the area, and has also started reaching out to classes at Watertown High School.

Watertown Company Acquired by Major Pharmaceutical Firm

The following announcement came from Novo Nordisk:

Novo Nordisk and Forma Therapeutics, Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: FMTX) today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Novo Nordisk will acquire Forma Therapeutics for USD 20 per share in cash, which represents a total equity value of USD 1.1bn. Forma Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on transforming the lives of patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) and rare blood disorders. The acquisition of Forma Therapeutics, including its lead development candidate, etavopivat, is aligned with Novo Nordisk’s strategy to complement and accelerate its scientific presence and pipeline in haemoglobinopathies, a group of disorders in which there is abnormal production or structure of the haemoglobin protein in the red blood cells. “Novo Nordisk has worked for more than 40 years to develop and deliver transformative medicines to patients around the world with rare and devastating diseases. By adding Forma’s differentiated approach to address unmet needs for patients, we are taking a step forward in enhancing our sickle cell disease pipeline,” said Ludovic Helfgott, executive vice president and head of Rare Disease at Novo Nordisk.