It should come as no surprise that Greater Boston is the #1 life science cluster in the US according to JLL’s new Life Science Outlook, with cluster being the operative word. As we heard time and time again from the esteemed panelists at our recent Future Viability life science event, the ability for companies to operate in such close proximity to their peers, particularly in Kendall Square, is very unique to this region.
“There’s no place on earth where you can walk 20 yards and be guaranteed to bump into multiple people in your industry,” said Kevin Bitterman, Partner at Polaris Partners. “No other region has this type of density and as a result, we’re seeing magic happen here.”
“Instead of trying to beat your competitor, we’re seeing a new phenomenon wherein we have a network society,” added Bill Kane, SVP of East Coast Leasing at BioMed. “This clustered approach speeds up the rate of research and is the fastest way to innovation.”
As the only panelist from the event based outside of the Boston area, Dennis Purcell, Founder & Senior Advisor at Aisling Capital in NYC, said, “I was in Kendall Square yesterday and I saw 10 people I knew in a short period of time. In NYC, I can go a week without seeing another biotech person. The clustering in the two regions is just night and day. I was actually quite shocked.”
But with a demand to supply ratio of 9 to 1, at some point something’s got to give. This begs the question of how, if at all, we can duplicate Kendall Square. While no one on our panel could pinpoint exactly where the “next Kendall Square” might spring up, many of our panelists agreed that incubators are the seed that gets everything going.
“As budding companies grow and plant their roots, the path of least resistance is to build their company where the incubator started,” said Chuck Pappalardo of Vertex Pharmaceuticals. That’s how this growth began and why it proliferates today.”
We’d like to extend a special thanks to Bill, Chuck, Kevin, and Dennis for their insights on Kendall Square as well as funding, drug pricing and more hot topics in the biotech industry. We’d also like to thank our moderator, Travis McCready, current President and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center for facilitating such an engaging panel.
Stayed tuned for the release of our 2016 Life Science Outlook later this week and be sure to subscribe to our blog for continued news and updates.