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NECN Report “Boston’s Innovation District”

BIO highlights Innovation District

Article Courtesy of:  NECN

(NECN: Peter Howe, Boston) – As much as the BIO International 2012 convention is showcasing Boston and Massachusetts as an international hub for biotechnology and biomedical companies, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center event is also showcasing how much the area around the BCEC – the Innovation District – has become a life sciences cluster within Boston-Cambridge.

Maybe nothing has done more to put this area on the map as a life-sciences hotbed as Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ decision last year to build a new world headquarters at Fan Pier, consolidating its 1,300 employees from 10 buildings in Cambridge to two new buildings on the waterfront.

But Vertex is only the beginning.

In all, more than 20 biotech, biomedical and life sciences companies and operations call the area home, including a new outpost of Boston’s legendary Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Immunetics, a 30-person company that moved to the Boston Marine Industrial Park from Cambridge eight years ago and just got Food and Drug Administration clearance to sell a test for bacterial contamination in platelets donors give to help cancer patients and patients with clotting disorders.

In all, the Boston Redevelopment Authority estimates that 14 companies have moved to the Innovation District in the last year, bringing 2,700 jobs.

Rich Pinkowitz, Immunetics vice president, said the combination of harborfront views, much cheaper rent than Cambridge, city and state financial assistance, and superb mass-transit access are helping Immunetics recruit great talent from a large area of Massachusetts.

“The access to mass-transit has been wonderful. We’re drawing in people from around the state, people who come in from as far as Tewksbury or Worcester or North Attleboro,” Pinkowitz said. “I’d say more than half come in via public transportation, and the ability to draw from a wider area gives us access to a much broader range of employees.”

Mayor Thomas M. Menino said he believes the life-sciences cluster in the Innovation District has reached a point it’s building on itself.

“The word down here is collaboration,” Menino said. “What I find with the bio field is they really want to collaborate, to share ideas, to work together on the newest research.”

Pinkowitz agreed that all around the Innovation District zone, “We’re starting to see a critical mass of other scientists coming in here, with complementary skills in different fields of science, and it’s getting more exciting every day we have been here.”

With videographer Mike Bellwin.

NECN

Article Courtesy of:  NECN

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