European drugmakers flock to Boston in search for deals- report

January 13
1:28 AM 2014

The Boston-Cambridge area has drawn drugmakers from Europe seeking deals, Bloomberg reported. Martin Heidecker, the venture capital fund manager for Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, is the latest to make the move, setting up shop in the home of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The European pharmaceutical firm intends to get a share of the biotechnology boom in the area in the same way as its rivals. Last July, the surging growth had produced over 11% of the drug development pipeline in the US.

Heidecker was working in Ingelheim am Rhein in Germany before transferring to Cambridge late last year. He now holds office located a short distance from MIT, Harvard Square and venture capital companies Atlas and Flagship, sharing space with other technology startups. He is just one of the Europeans that have made an exodus to Boston where a critical number of universities, entrepreneurs and investors are located.

Heidecker told Bloomberg, "Here in Cambridge, everything is so condensed. It's a very open community of innovative science."

It is this kind of environment that has made the Boston-Cambridge area the envy of other biotechnology hubs in Europe. Citing figures from trade association MassBio, the report said venture capital poured $510 million in biotech and pharmaceutical firms based in Cambridge last year.

Less than a mile from Boehringer's office at the Cambridge Innovation Center can be found the office of Novartis. The Basel, Switzerland-based firm helped jumpstart the rush when it purchased an old candy band in 2002 and turned it into a research facility.

More firms that could be the target for acquisitions are also growing in the Boston region. Citing an Xconomy report in October, Bloomberg said there are 37 biotechnology firms possessing at least $100 million in cash and investments to support their research. This figure was the most the US ever had and three times the number ten years ago. Bloomberg data also showed that there were 9 biotech firms that went public last year.

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