Biotech gains ground in NYC: Sprawl­ing re­search cen­ter planned in $1.6B Mid­town project

Mak­ing good on its promise to inch its way to­ward biotech hub sta­tus, New York City is ded­i­cat­ing a mas­sive space for life sci­ence com­pa­nies to put down roots in a 105-year-old struc­ture in Mid­town.

Com­mer­cial re­al es­tate de­vel­op­ers have been work­ing to make over the old Far­ley Post Of­fice Build­ing, a Ro­man clas­sic struc­ture that spans two city blocks, in­to an elab­o­rate tran­sit hub to be called the Moyni­han Train Hall. Now, the two firms be­hind the $1.6 bil­lion over­haul have hired a bro­ker with ex­ten­sive knowl­edge of Boston’s re­al es­tate mar­ket and have de­vel­oped a brochure for the train hall that mar­kets the struc­ture to the life sci­ence in­dus­try.

David Green­baum

The brochure calls the space “Moyni­han Re­search Cen­ter at Far­ley” and it high­lights po­ten­tial de­signs for lab­o­ra­to­ry and of­fice space. De­vel­op­ers Vor­na­do Re­al­ty Trust and Re­lat­ed Cos, which have a 99-year lease to de­vel­op about 900,000 square feet of of­fice and re­tail space, told the Wall Street Jour­nal that they’re tar­get­ing new in­dus­tries that are rapid­ly grow­ing in the city.

“Just as Google and Face­book have de­cid­ed they need a ma­jor pres­ence in New York, there is the recog­ni­tion by life-sci­ences com­pa­nies that for kids who are the sci­en­tists of the fu­ture, they want to live in ur­ban ar­eas,” David Green­baum, pres­i­dent of Vor­na­do’s New York di­vi­sion, told the WSJ.

This new re­al es­tate project is the lat­est de­vel­op­ment in NYC’s jour­ney to biotech hub sta­tus. The city has seen a boost of life sci­ence ac­tiv­i­ty in re­cent years, thanks to ef­forts made by the state and city to in­cen­tivize biotech to plant roots in New York. The moves ap­pear to be work­ing, with new en­trants set­ting up shop in the city. NYU Lan­gone Med­ical Cen­ter is col­lab­o­rat­ing with Cam­bridge, MA-based Bi­o­Labs to cre­ate a 50,000-square-foot biotech co-work­ing cen­ter on Var­ick Street in Low­er Man­hat­tan. And the Long Is­land City Part­ner­ship is work­ing on a plan for a life sci­ences cen­ter in that Queens dis­trict.

Nan­cy Thorn­ber­ry

And a cou­ple months ago, NYC’s eco­nom­ic de­vel­op­ment group told me it post­ed a “want­ed ad” for an or­ga­ni­za­tion or joint ven­ture to de­vel­op and op­er­ate a life sci­ence R&D cam­pus in the city. New York is putting up $100 mil­lion in city cap­i­tal and city-owned land to spur the project, which has been coined “LifeSci NYC Hub,” the EDC said.

“NYC has proven to be an out­stand­ing place to re­cruit for biotech,” said Kally­ope CEO Nan­cy Thorn­ber­ry, who sits on the ad­vi­so­ry coun­cil for the EDC ef­fort.  “The scene is just be­gin­ning to grow here, and so there’s an un­tapped pool of tal­ent of sci­en­tists from acad­e­mia who are in­ter­est­ed in work­ing in biotech. There’s al­so a num­ber of in­di­vid­u­als want­i­ng to make tran­si­tion from phar­ma to biotech who want to live here in New York.”

Still, Thorn­ber­ry ad­mits the city has had a his­tor­i­cal prob­lem with find­ing space for biotech. WSJ re­ports the city has strug­gled to keep star­tups around as they grow.

New York has on­ly 2.8 mil­lion square feet of rentable lab space, com­pared with New Jer­sey’s 16.2 mil­lion and the 26.8 mil­lion square feet in the greater Boston area, ac­cord­ing to da­ta from the spring of 2017 col­lect­ed by re­al es­tate ser­vices firm JLL.

Im­age: Ren­der­ing of the Far­ley Post Of­fice Build­ing. SOM

Com­mu­ni­cat­ing the val­ue of pre­ci­sion med­i­cine

By Natasha Cowan, Content Marketing Manager at Blue Latitude Health.
Many stakeholders are confused by novel precision medicines, including patients and healthcare professionals. So, how can industry help them to navigate this complexity?

Precision medicine represents a new paradigm in healthcare. It embodies the shift from treating many patients with the same therapy, to having the tools to identify the best treatment for every patient.

Mer­ck buys a fledg­ling neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive biotech spawned by an old GSK dis­cov­ery al­liance. What’s up with that?

Avalon Ventures chief Jay Lichter has a well-known yen for drug development programs picked up in academia. And what he found in Haoxing Xu’s lab at the University of Michigan pricked his interest enough to launch one of his umbrella biotechs in San Diego.
Xu’s work laid the foundation for Avalon to launch Calporta, which has been working on finding small molecule agonists of TRPML1 (transient receptor potential cation channel, mucolipin subfamily, member 1) for lysosomal storage disorders. And that pathway, they believe, points to new approaches on major market neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, ALS and Alzheimer’s.

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In­vestors could emerge from Neil Wood­ford de­ba­cle with £1B loss, in­ter­nal analy­sis re­veals

When Link Fund Solutions announced that it is closing Woodford Equity Income Fund permanently and kicking out Neil Woodford, it was implied that investors probably won’t get back everything they entrusted to the fund manager. But nobody knew just how much they would lose.

An internal analysis commissioned by Link suggested that the collective loss could amount to £1 billion — out of a fund last valued at £3.1 billion — Citywire has revealed.

GSK's asth­ma bi­o­log­ic Nu­cala scores in rare blood dis­or­der study

GlaxoSmithKline’s asthma drug Nucala, which received a resounding FDA rejection for use in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) last year, has shown promise in a rare blood disorder.

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Spe­cial re­port: Twen­ty ex­tra­or­di­nary women in bio­phar­ma R&D who worked their way to the top

What differentiates a woman leader in biopharma R&D from a man?

Not much, except there are fewer of them in senior posts. Data suggest women are not more risk-averse, family-oriented or less confident than their male counterparts — indeed the differences between the two sexes are negligible. But a glance at the top R&D positions in Big Pharma leaves little doubt that upward migration in the executive ranks of biopharma R&D is tough.

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FDA Vas­cepa re­view spot­lights new safe­ty sig­nals, pos­si­ble min­er­al oil spoil­er as Amarin hunts a block­buster ap­proval

An in-house FDA review of Amarin’s Vascepa raises a set of hurdles the biotech will have to clear if the biotech expects to get the long-awaited FDA approval that could set it on a path to superstar status. But it appears that Amarin has survived another potential setback without introducing a major new threat to its prospects.

The stakes don’t get much higher, with analysts saying a win this week for Amarin could lead to billions in new sales — provided the agency stamps it with an OK. And investors liked what they say in the FDA review this morning, bumping the stock $AMRN 17%.

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FDA puts Sol­id Bio’s lead gene ther­a­py pro­gram on hold — again — af­ter an­oth­er pa­tient is hurt by SGT-001

Solid Biosciences continues to be plagued by safety issues.

Close to 18 months after the gene therapy biotech was able to quickly shed an FDA hold on their lead Duchenne muscular dystrophy program for SGT-001, regulators have stepped back in to force another halt after another patient was hit hard by a set of serious adverse events remarkably similar to the first set.

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FDA slaps a hold on an AML tri­al as Mark­er scraps a fail­ing ovar­i­an can­cer pro­gram, sink­ing shares

The FDA has placed a hold on a Phase II AML trial from the small immuno-oncology biotech Marker Therapeutics. Marker disclosed the issue two weeks after responding to FDA concerns, adding it to the Q3 release Tuesday. The company also announced it was scrapping a Phase II ovarian cancer program it determined was unlikely to succeed.

The agency’s concern centers around two reagents used in manufacturing for their trial for acute myeloid leukemia patients who have received a stem cell transplant. The reagents are from third parties and not present in the final product, Marker said.

Eli Lil­ly-backed biotech grabs $100M to dis­patch an­ti­body-oligonu­cleotide con­ju­gates af­ter mus­cu­lar dy­s­tro­phy

Hold up your hand. Make a fist. Now open it. And again.

If you can do it fully and with ease, then the proteins in your hand are likely working properly. If you can’t then they may not be. In people with myotonic muscular dystrophy, something more atomic is going on.

In those folks, the problem is RNA. Certain base pairs repeat far beyond normal, up to 11,000 superfluous letters in some cases. The extended strands form “clumps.” Proteins misform and can’t function properly. They often allow one movement but not the reverse, a condition called myotonia that gives the dystrophy its name.