With New HQ, Ipsen to Rapidly Expand North American Presence

Original publication date: November 16, 2018

Ipsen logo next to words 'Innovation for patient care'

With a patient-centric focus, Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals is on a mission to improve patients’ lives, leveraging its global reach and placing a strategic focus on external innovation. To achieve this goal, the company initiated a number of moves to bolster its position and deliver on its promise of delivering at least one new product or new indication annually from one of its three areas of focus: oncology, neuroscience and rare diseases.

One of the most significant moves Ipsen made earlier this year was to relocate its U.S. operations to the heart of the northeastern United States’ biotech hub of Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The announcement was made at the 2018 BIO International Convention in Boston. Ipsen already had an established presence in Cambridge with two sites in Kendall Square, a manufacturing site and office space that houses its Global External Innovation and Partnering, and Research & Development activities. By bringing the North America headquarters into Cambridge, Ipsen has built a fully integrated biopharma in the heart of the biotech hub and expects to capitalize on the area’s biotech ecosystem to spur growth. 

With the creation of a global hub in the area, Ipsen will add more than 200 jobs to Cambridge. The company currently has approximately 600 employees in North America.

The new North American global hub will focus the company’s work of delivering innovative new products in its three core areas of focus -- oncology, neuroscience and rare diseases. It is in these indications that Ipsen is planning to deliver on that plan for annual product launches. Supported by the work that will be performed in Kendall Square, the company said it will remain as nimble as a biotech as it works with a sense of urgency to bring innovative products to market sooner and into the hands of the patients who need them most.

At the time of the announcement Ipsen North America Chief Executive Officer Richard Paulson, who joined the company in January, said bringing the company’s North American headquarters to Cambridge will advance opportunities for the company and its overall business. The Kendall Square facility marks the opening of Ipsen’s third global hub. Ipsen’s other two global biotech hubs are in the UK and France.

For Ipsen though, its mission has expanded to include supporting innovative research conducted outside of the company. In July, Ipsen announced an agreement with BioLabs to open a life science co-working facility within Ipsen’s offices in Kendall Square. The shared laboratory space called the Ipsen Innovation Center – BioLabs (IPSEN-ICB) will be a fully equipped 15,000 square-feet combined office and laboratory facility dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs and startup companies developing the next generation of therapeutics for patients.

BioLabs is expected to be ready for occupancy in the first part of 2019 and will begin accepting applications for occupancy in the coming months.

Ivana Magovčević-Liebisch, Ipsen’s Chief Business Officer, said external innovation is central to the company’s growth strategy. The opening of the innovation center enables the company to support the “biotech ecosystem that plays such a vital role in discovering innovative new therapies.”

As Ipsen shores up its physical presence in Cambridge, the company’s human infrastructure is also showing signs of professional growth. Since June, the company has hired more than 100 new employees, with about two-thirds of those new hires in Cambridge.

And, as Ipsen’s third quarter reports show, their growth strategy seems to be working. Over the first three quarters of the fiscal year, Ipsen saw group sales growth of 21.1 percent. Quarterly sales were given a significant boost by Ipsen’s Specialty Care sales products, which saw a 24.2 percent jump during the quarter, according to data released by the company.

Additionally, the company said its full-year 2018 guidance confirmed with group sales growth of greater than 19 percent and core operating margin of around 29 percent of sales. In North America, sales were about $497 million (€439 million). That was an increase of 38.8 percent from the previous year’s report.

In addition to those third-quarter milestones, Ipsen has seen a number of key markers of its continued success over the past year. In October, the company joined the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), as part of its efforts to place external innovation and partnerships at the forefront of its growth strategy.

With these key elements in place for future growth in North America, Ipsen will be looking to its pipeline of products to continue the momentum. And, if things keep hitting for its key assets, growth should continue to manifest. As an example, in May, Ipsen and MD Anderson announced a licensing and development agreement for a pre-clinical oncology drug candidate discovered by researchers in MD Anderson’s Institute for Applied Cancer Science (IACS). Researchers at MD Anderson will develop the asset through Phase I and then Ipsen will take over. MD Anderson and Ipsen will also collaborate on additional pre-clinical studies to further explore the potential of the drug candidate’s mode-of-action and expanded indications.

“Through this collaboration, we aim to synergize IACS’ scientific expertise with Ipsen’s drug development capabilities to deliver innovative therapies more rapidly to patients in need, and advance patient care in oncology,” Ipsen Chief Scientific Officer Alexandre Lebeaut said in a statement.

Ipsen is truly entering a new era of innovation and growth as they grow and build their presence in Cambridge through 2019 and beyond. 

Job seekers can find out about opportunities at Ipsen and other life science companies by registering at BioSpace.

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