After snatching up Shire’s cancer unit, French pharma giant Servier to expand US presence with Kendall Square innovation office

Servier, the French pharma giant that just acquired Shire’s oncology unit for $2.4 billion, is putting a US innovation outpost in Kendall Square. The new unit will be called Servier BioInnovation, and it’s just recruited two executives to head it up — likely hunters for partnerships and tech that will advance Servier’s pipeline.

Christian Schubert

This marks the second French pharma giant to announce a Kendall Square outpost in the past 24 hours. Just yesterday, Ipsen announced it was moving its US headquarters from New Jersey to Boston.

The two directors of Servier BioInnovation are ex-Biogen exec Christian Schubert and University of Massachusetts’ director of tech commercialization Rekha Paleyanda. They’ll be in charge of heading up Servier’s US R&D and external innovation, and business development and licensing activities.

Rekha Paleyanda

Today, Servier already has a bit of a US presence with some academic collaborations with Harvard and MIT in Boston. It’s also partnered with biotechs and pharma throughout the US, and supports the LabCentral incubator. And after the April news that Servier was buying up Shire’s oncology unit, the French company will have a much bigger footprint on this side of the Atlantic. In a statement, Servier said the acquisition allows Servier to establish an “immediate and direct commercial presence in the US.”

Christophe Thurieau

“Servier BioInnovation represents Servier’s commitment to expanding its growing presence in the U.S. for the long-term through R&D and business development and licensing activities,” said Christophe Thurieau, director of research centers and the Servier International Research Network (SIRN) at Servier’s R&D headquarters. “Christian Schubert and Rekha Paleyanda are established leaders in external innovation, business development and licensing in the biotechnology sector with deep experience in both academic research and commercial business development. The Boston area provides an amazing concentration of innovation, especially in the field of oncology, for partnerships that will advance science and build on Servier’s history as a leading global pharmaceutical innovator.”

The US outpost is just the start, Servier said. It has plans to broaden the SIRN presence worldwide, opening up offices in Beijing, China next.

Image: The Longfellow Bridge connecting Beacon Hill, Boston to Kendall Square, Cambridge.SHUTTERSTOCK

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