Biotech firms off the Island
It’s tough times for the biotech industry, according to this piece in the Chronicle. And that just plain sucks for Alameda.
Advanced Cell Technology, the Worcester, Mass. company that once grabbed headlines with an effort to clone human embryonic stem cells, shuttered its office at Harbor Bay Parkway in September (though the company did license some whiz-bang sounding technology to create “embryonic progenitor cells” to another local company headed by its former chief executive, according to the late East Bay Business Times).
Avigen Inc. is also planning on leaving its Alameda labs and could vacate its headquarters here, following the clinical failure of its multiple sclerosis drug. The company recently announced plans to cut 70 percent of its workforce.
Both companies said the moves were intended to conserve cash in tough times. But there’s optimism on both fronts. Avigen business chief Michael Coffee told the Chron he’s hopeful the company can find a buyer for its experimental drugs for hemophilia and nerve pain. And companies working on treatments based on stem cells are hopeful that the arrival of President-elect Barack Obama could bring federal dollars for their work.
Here’s a similar piece in today’s Boston Globe.