Genetown Professionals Weigh In on Ideal Employers


In BioSpace’s recently published 2019 Life Sciences Ideal Employer Report more than 2,700 life sciences professionals rated their top Ideal Employer attributes to show that employees are most keen for interesting and meaningful work, competitive salary and health benefits.

BioSpace broke down the data to gain an insight into each of the BioSpace Hotbed regions and who those survey takers thought should be considered Ideal Employers. Similar to the Biotech Bay list, BioSpace takes a look at the top 10 2019 Life Sciences Ideal Employer Report’s for Genetown. The names of the companies on this list are no surprise, given the particular importance of the Boston area as a pharma hub in the United States.

  1. Novartis – The Swiss pharma giant has a strong presence in the Cambridge, Mass. area. The company ranked #5 overall on the Ideal Employer survey but in Genetown, it takes the top spot and with the year the company has had, it’s no wonder. Despite some shenanigans with preclinical data, the company won approval for its spinal muscular atrophy gene therapy, a one-and-done treatment that has a list price of $2.1 million. The company also picked up approval for a treatment for pain associated with sickle cell disease. Most recently, Novartis snapped up The Medicines Company for $9.7 billion to get its hands on a PCSK9 Cholesterol Drug.
  2. Biogen – Boston-based Biogen, which came in at number 14 on the overall survey, took a blow earlier this year with its Alzheimer’s-aimed treatment aducanumab when it appeared the program was on the verge of abandonment. But, it appear the treatment is on the verge of a comeback following the analysis of a large dataset. With the new data, Biogen could submit the drug for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Additionally, Biogen just picked up approval for the multiple sclerosis drug Vumerity. The drug was approved for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, to include clinically isolated syndrome, relapsing-remitting disease and active secondary progressive disease.
  3. Pfizer – Number two on the overall Ideal Employer Survey, Pfizer takes the third spot in Genetown. Most recently, Pfizer won approval for Abrilada, a biosimilar of AbbVie’s Humira. Pfizer said the FDA approved Abrilada (adalimumab-afzb) for the treatment of certain patients with rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, adult Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and plaque psoriasis. In July, Pfizer announced that its off-patent medicines company, Upjohn, will merge with generic drugmaker Mylan to form a new pharmaceutical company with projected 2020 revenues of up to $20 billion.
  4. Genentech – South San Francisco-based Genentech came in at the top on the overall survey and number four in Genetown. In November, the Roche subsidiary announced its PD-L1 treatment in combination with Avastin improved survival in people with liver cancer. The combination showed statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements in overall survival and progression-free survival. The company is also eying potential approval of its SMA treatment risdiplam.
  5. Takeda/Shire – Since the closing of its $62 billion acquisition of Shire in January, Takeda has been divesting assets to pare down the debt it gained from the deal. In November the company offloaded a portfolio of over-the-counter and prescription pharmaceutical products to Germany-based STADA Arsneimittel AG for$660 million. The company is also hoping to soon go to market with a vaccine for Dengue fever following a new analysis of late-stage data. Takeda and MD Anderson also teamed up in November to develop next-generation immuno-oncology assets.
  6. Merck – Coming in a number 6 in Genetown is Merck, which ranked #3 overall. Merck has seen enormous success from its tent pole oncology drug Keytruda, which is pegged at becoming the best-selling drug in the world. In November, the company scored a historic milestone with the world’s first approved Ebola vaccine. Ervebo, the name of the drug, is currently being used under a “compassionate use” program in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Also in November, Merck flexed its M&A muscle and acquired San Diego-based Calporta to gain access to preclinical TRPML1 agonists that are seen as potential treatments for neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.
  7. bluebird bio – Cambridge, Mass.-based bluebird came in at number 23 on the overall survey and the hometown company hit the #7 spot in Genetown. In October, the company forged a three-year collaborative agreement with Novo Nordisk. The two companies aim to develop genome editing therapies for genetic diseases, including hemophilia. The top target for the two companies will be hemophilia A. In June, the European Commission gave conditional marketing approval for bluebird’s LentiGlobin gene therapy for transfusion-dependent beta-thalassemia (TDT) under the brand name Zynteglo.
  8. Vertex – Another hometown team, Boston-based Vertex, a leader in cystic fibrosis treatments, took the #25 spot on the overall list. This year the company won approval for a triple combination treatment called Trikafta that is expected to treat 90% of cystic fibrosis patients. Additionally, Vertex and its development partner CRISPR Therapeutics announced positive interim data from an ongoing Phase I/II trial using the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing therapy CTX001 to treat both transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia and sickle cell disease.
  9. Sanofi – At #20 on the overall survey, France-based Sanofi ranks in the top 10 in Genetown. The company has most recently been embroiled in a recall of its Zantac products due to the discovery of contamination in the manufacturing process. Despite that setback, the company did report positive Phase III results of its Toujeo medication for children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes.
  10. Amgen – California-based Amgen took the #4 spot on the overall Ideal Employer survey but came in at #10 in Genetown. The company is eying Dec. 14 for potential approval of its biosimilar to Janssen’s Remicade, a drug for various inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and plaque psoriasis. Recently, the company announced it was making some cuts in Boston as the company moves out of the neuroscience space.

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