The concept of “disruption” has become a buzzword in biotech, a term signifying the dreams of companies looking to make a big impact on the world of healthcare. Yet that type of risk-taking and innovation typifies the startup biotech, where the odds are stacked against you and the road to success is long, costly, and full of unanticipated twists and turns.
But that’s what makes the journey, and the story behind it, so compelling. And that’s why tales like these are at the heart of Xconomy’s latest biotech bash, the third iteration of “Boston’s Life Science Disruptors.” On the evening of Sept. 30, at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, MA, we’re bringing together the founders, investors, and leaders from a trio of Boston startups pursuing three completely different fields of research—each with their own challenges and rewards, and each at different stages of their development.
Take Synlogic, for instance. This is a less than two-year old startup from the labs of MIT’s Jim Collins backed by about $35 million in funding from Atlas Venture, New Enterprise Associates, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Synlogic is developing manmade microbes that serve as custom-designed, living drugs. It’s an audacious idea, and Synlogic has much to prove—yet it was able to attract one of Pfizer’s top executives, JC Gutierrez-Ramos, to leave his post, take the risk, and lead the company.
Then there’s Foundation Medicine (NASDAQ: FMI), started up by Third Rock Ventures six years ago. Even in a biotech boom, it’s been tough sledding for diagnostics companies. Few have been able to pull off successful IPOs, let alone gain the support of major drugmakers. Foundation has done both, culminating with Roche’s decision to pay more than $1 billion for a majority stake in the company.
Lastly there’s Seres Therapeutics (NASDAQ: MCRB), a startup incubated by Flagship Ventures that recently became the first developer of microbiome therapies—bacterial cocktails meant to recalibrate the microbial environment in the gut—to go public in the U.S. Microbiome research has exploded in recent years, and Seres’s progress, and pratfalls, will be closely watched.
Here are some of the names you can expect to see:
JC Gutierrez-Ramos: President and CEO, Synlogic
Michael Pellini: President and CEO, Foundation Medicine
Alexis Borisy: Partner, Third Rock Ventures, and Chairman, Foundation Medicine
Roger Pomerantz: President, CEO, and Chairman, Seres Therapeutics
Noubar Afeyan: Founder, CEO, and Senior Managing Partner, Flagship Ventures
As always, it should be a fun night; you can get your tickets here. Space is limited, so be sure to take advantage of our early bird discount before it expires on Aug. 12. See you all on Sept. 30.