Written by Mark Osterman, Senior Vice President, Kineticos
Last week, my colleagues and I attended a great local event at the North Carolina Biotech Center where an A-list panel discussed the pricing and reimbursement landscape for biopharmaceutical products. It was a very engaging discussion regarding the future of value-based medicine and the integration of data, among other things. The turnout for the event was strong and sitting among so many local life science professionals reminded me that Research Triangle Park (RTP) is a perfect, yet often overlooked, region for life science companies.
When you think of life science hubs or regions, there are a few places that come to mind immediately: Boston, San Francisco, along with a few others growing regions along each coast. These areas have solidified their role as life science hot beds, and continue to expand.
Boston, in particular, has drawn in many companies, both small and large, and is also home to several Pharma incubators, e.g. Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer. It is pretty easy to see why it has received such attention, as several successful biotech companies, such as Genzyme, have started in Boston. It retains a strong investor base, and is clearly a center of academic excellence. This has all contributed to building a culture of innovation and scientific curiosity.
If you think about it for a second, the RTP region has many of those same key attributes, just on a smaller scale. Although the major investment base has waned a bit as of late and a high level of M&A activity has resulted in some companies being uprooted, Pfizer has provided us a very recent example of why our region has a lot of potential.
For starters, there is a well-balanced mix of both tech and pharma culture, which is critical to the integration of data and science in our increasingly technological world. Additionally, North Carolina is home to some of the world’s largest CROs so biopharma companies do not have to look far to find a solid development partner.
Like Boston, RTP also has access to several highly regarded academic centers, with Duke, UNC, NC State, and Wake Forest all within an hour’s drive. Not only is there some really great IP residing within the local institutions, they also provide an enriched talent pool for companies to draw from. Also worth mentioning is the location of RDU International Airport, making RTP very accessible.
From a lifestyle perspective, the RTP region has a welcoming and relaxed culture, with strong sentiments of “southern hospitality” immediately evident when speaking with anyone from the region. The cost of living is reasonable, and the pace of life is also comfortable – given the warm climate and the presence of many golf courses, some describe the area as “tees, trees, and PhDs.”
For life science companies looking for a place to call home, it’s clear that RTP has plenty to offer. It’s going to take significant effort along with a little luck to develop RTP into a known hub but we certainly have a sturdy foundation to build on.
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Mark Osterman, Senior Vice President of Kineticos’ Biopharmaceutical Practice, brings 25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry to the team. His team is focused on helping growth-oriented biopharma companies realize their commercial potential at the corporate, portfolio and product levels. Mark’s therapeutic expertise includes cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolics and cell/gene therapy.