Zafgen

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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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Share surge
After completing its IPO Wednesday with strong demand from investors, Cambridge biotech firm Zafgen saw its shares jump as trading began this morning. The shares in the obesity treatment maker closed up about 22 percent, at $19.56, from the IPO price of $16. The IPO was the 10th by a Massachusetts-based biotech firm so far this year, topping the tally from last year of nine and setting a new record. Discuss
TACKLING SEVERE OBESITY
Zafgen completes $96 million IPO with big demand for shares
zafgen

Zafgen Inc. has completed its initial public offering amid strong demand from investors. The Cambridge biotech firm increased the size of the offering and sold shares at the top of its projected range on Wednesday, raising a total of $96 million. The IPO is the 10th by a Massachusetts-based biotech firm so far this year, topping the tally from last year of nine and setting a new record.

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