10 Massachusetts Biotechs that Grew Their Headcount by at Least 40% in 2015

Published: Mar 24, 2016

10 Massachusetts Biotechs that Grew Their Headcount by at Least 40% in 2015
March 23, 2016 (Last Updated: 2:15pm PT)
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

BOSTON – 2015 was a good year for nine Boston-area biotech companies as they were able to expand headcount by at least 40 percent. Companies that saw employee growth range from some of the largest in the area to companies that have not yet recorded a profit, the Boston Business Journal reported this morning.

The companies the Journal highlighted are listed in ascending order below.

9. Alnylam Pharmaceuticals saw employee growth jump 44 percent to 389 in 2015. The company develops RNA interference (RNAi) to develop therapies that will lead to the end of rare diseases, such as Transthyretin-related hereditary (TTR) amyloidosis and various disorders of the blood.

8. Genocea Biosciences now employs 87 employees. The company saw employment growth of 53 percent. Genocea is developing T cell-directed vaccines and immunotherapies. In October, the company saw top line results from its pneumococcus vaccine.

7. ArQule , which saw $11 million in revenue in 2015, employed 36 by the end of 2015. That was an increase of 57 percent, the Journal said. ArQule’s growth was driven by its experimental prostate cancer drug.

6. Foundation Medicine , based in Cambridge, Mass. saw employment jump 64 percent growth in employment to 417 employees. The company reported revenue of $93 million in 2015. In April 2015, Roche nabbed a majority stake in Foundation Medicine, spending more than $1 billion to acquire 56.3 percent of the company that specializes in molecular and genomic analysis.

5. bluebird bio , which is developing gene therapy treatments for blood disorders including sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia major, grew its employee base by 78 percent growth to 254 employees. Bluebird saw revenue of $14 million in 2015.

4. Sage Therapeutics saw employee growth of 100 percent. The company, which saw no revenue last year, ended 2015 with 62 employees. In December, Sage announced an accelerated timeline for its Phase III STATUS Trial for SAGE-547 to treat super-refractory status epilepticus (SRSE), a severe seizure disorder.

3. AMAG Pharmaceuticals saw employee growth of 115 percent to 552 employees. Amag developed Makena for pre-term birth. The drug which was approved in 2011, is expected to generate $430 million in revenue, according to analysts’ predictions last year. The company reported $418 million in revenue last year.

2. Tesaro , which is developing the experimental Nirparib for ovarian and breast cancer, saw employee growth of 165 percent to 286 employees. The company saw revenue of $317,000. If Nirparib is cleared, analysts predict it will generate $325 million in revenue.

1. Radius Health expanded its employment from 25 employees to 73 last year, the Journal reported. The company saw no revenue last year, the Boston Business Journal said. Radius is developing therapies for patients with osteoporosis and other serious diseases. Last year the company told BioSpace Radius is in “high growth mode” and expected the company to double in size. Radius plans to submit a New Drug Application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at the end of March for abaloparatide, an investigational drug aimed at reducing fracture risk in postmenopausal osteoporosis, the Journal said.

Seres Therapeutics

Although not included in the Journal’s article, Cambridge-based Seres Therapeutics saw a growth of more than 200 percent, going from 25 employees to 86, Carlo Tanzi, head of investor relations at Seres told BioSpace.

“Seres Therapeutics grew significantly during 2015,” Tanzi said in an email.

Seres, a microbiome therapeutics platform company, struck a $1.9 billion deal with Nestle Health Science to develop treatments for C. diff and inflammatory bowel disease, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Seres’ most advanced program, SER-109, completed a Phase Ib/II study in patients with recurring Clostridium difficile infection. The treatment is being evaluated in a Phase II study in recurring CDI, the company said in January.

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