104 stories
Innovation Economy
For Boston's most cutting-edge biotech companies, all that's missing is the lab
Zafgen CEO Thomas Hughes at work in his office. LANE TURNER/GLOBE STAFF

Today's typical biotech tour may not include a swing through the lab — because there isn’t one. Chief executives now brag about the cost savings and flexibility of outsourcing everything from the design of a new drug to supervision of clinical trials to eventual manufacturing. “The only lab equipment we have here is the sink in the restroom,” says Tom Hughes, chief executive of Zafgen.

A decade ago, if you toured a biotech company in Cambridge, you would don plastic safety glasses and be shown through a brand-spanking-new lab, full of white-coated scientists monitoring experiments. The chief executive would boast about the sophisticated equipment, like imaging systems that could see a tumor shrink inside a rat, and how it would help them bring a new drug to market more quickly.

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Innovation Economy
A star still waiting to be born in Kendall Square
Halls - Color
If you last visited Kendall Square 10 years ago and returned to the Cambridge neighborhood today, you’d think Jack had sprinkled around a bushel of magic beans. New buildings have sprouted, bars and restaurants have opened, and an East Coast Google campus has been completed. You can even ice skate in the winter or rent a kayak in the summer. But one thing that hasn’t changed is Glenn KnicKrehm’s empty gravel lot in the heart of the square. The precious acre of property is still surrounded by chain-link fence, and KnicKrehm is still spinning his vision of building a $300 million arts and culture complex called the Constellation Center. Read more in my latest Innovation Economy column in The Boston Globe.    
Smarter prescriptions
With new funding, Orig3n hopes to hone in on best treatments for you
Orig3n CEO Robin Smith with COO Kate Blanchard. (Photo courtesy of Orig3n.)
Boston startup Orig3n has been showing up at marathons and triathlons with an unusual request for participants: How about parting with a vial of blood? The company is trying to build a giant library of iPS cells — that's induced pluripotent stem cells — and they've found that amateur athletes tend to be more willing to share than most. Read More
A sensor you can swallow
Google's quiet partner on cancer-detection project: Mass.-based Entrega
Entrega board members Robert Langer, Jonathan Behr, and Colin Gardner. (Globe Photo / Jim Davis.)
Earlier in the week, Google took the wraps off an intriguing project that is part of its secretive Google X skunkworks: a magnetic nanoparticle that would travel through the bloodstream searching for early signs of cancer. But what Google executive Andrew Conrad didn't mention is that a Boston-area startup, Entrega Inc., is working with his company to actually deliver the nanoparticles, using a novel kind of pill. Read More
What you need to know with your Cup o' Joe
Morning brief: Aileron gets $33 million in new funding, HeyWire announces 911 text advancements
<a href="">Photo of "Latte with heart shape" via Shutterstock</a>
This morning, two local companies made announcements that could have health and safety implications for years to come. One deals with funding to help fight cancer using an approach that merges science, biology, and new technological drug development technologies; the other is an advancement in using a ubiquitous communication technology when an emergency strikes. Read More
Raise for Raze

Cambridge-based Raze Therapeutics announced its launch Monday, adding that it has closed on a $24 million Series A financing.

Investors in the Series A financing include Atlas Venture, MPM Capital Management, MS Ventures, Partners Innovation Fund, Astellas Venture Management, and Novartis, the Raze press release said.

Atlas partner Jason Rhodes is Raze’s acting chief executive.


Tipping point
Kendall Square passes from tech center to biotech center
Shannon Pendergrast of Ymir Genomics isolates exosomes from biofluids at LabCentral in Cambridge’s Kendall Square. (Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
The three-story brick building at the corner of Main and Osborn streets in Cambridge, on the edge of Kendall Square and the MIT campus, captures three distinct eras in the city’s innovation history. In the early 1800s, it was the site of Kimball & Davenport, the first builder of passenger railroad cars in America. Read More