Cars are buried in deep snow, temperature way below freezing point, public transportation paralyzed. Yet, Boston showed once again the can-do attitude and why it has become the most vibrant life science hub of the world.
Over 200 scientists, entrepreneurs, and senior managers congregated in Kendall Square of Cambridge for the Grand Opening and Forum of WuXi on Feb 24th. Even not able to join personally, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker sent a personal congratulation “WuXi AppTec provides a platform for life science research and development, in China and internationally, and we welcome them to the world’s leading region for life sciences innovation.” Mr. Dennis Benzan, Vice Mayor of Cambridge and Mr. Dongbai Ye, Counselor of Chinese Consulate in New York, both participated and gave spirited speeches to congratulate the opening of the first WuXi facility in the region.
Titled “Massachusetts: The Convergence of Science, Capital & Innovation”, the Forum featured some of most influential figures in the life science industry. Besides Dr. Joshua Boger, Chairman of Vertex/Alkeus, Dr. Robert Urban, Head of Johnson&Johnson Innovation Center, and Mr. Alexis Borisy, Partner of Third Rock Ventures, both gave insightful keynote speeches. Dr. Boger told a story of tenacity and belief, a journey that Vertex took and Alkeus is taking. Dr. Boger emphasized the importance of “platform” as being a key advantage of a life science company. Dr. Urban focused on the multiple dimensions of JNJ and how it seeks innovative solutions in healthcare. Mr. Borisy addressed the key pillars of life science, talent, capital, and regulation. In his highly dynamic style, Mr. Borisy specifically commended the contributions of WuXi to many a Third Rock portfolio company. The audiences were captivated by the speeches.
Following the keynotes, a panel discussion on the symbiotic relationship of the local ecosystem and innovation ensued, with Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center moderating a blue-ribbon panel: David Altshuler, CSO and EVP of R&D, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Scott Biller, CSO, Agios Pharmaceuticals, John Bishop, SVP of Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Jorge Conde, CFO, Syros, and Nick Leschly, CEO, Bluebird Bio. The panel addressed the question of sustainable growth of the life science industry in the Greater Boston region. Companies like WuXi are an integral part of the ecosystem and can make a big difference.
Congratulations to WuXi’s Grand Opening in Cambridge!