The following is an excerpt from an article in the Boston Business Journal originally published on January 3, 2024:
Boston-based biotechs made big strides in neuroscience in 2022, kicking off what will likely be a fruitful decade for innovation in mental health and neurodegenerative diseases. Last year, there were similar leaps in genetic medicines, culminating in a historic double-approval of two sickle-cell treatments, one made by Boston’s Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: VRTX) and CRISPR Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: CRSP) and another by Somerville’s bluebird bio Inc. (Nasdaq: BLUE).
“We’re seeing some really exciting research happening,” MassBio CEO Kendalle Burlin O’Connell said. “Massachusetts leads in these very novel areas. I’m really excited to see what’s happening around Alzheimer’s and neuro and (antibody-drug conjugates). What’s happening around sickle-cell is huge — these are all Massachusetts homegrown companies.”
Grant and Zohar both see neuroscience as a growth area. Grant, a Stanford-trained neuroscientist, says that not only has the science itself matured, but AbbVie’s acquisition of central nervous system-focused Cerevel, and a greater need for treatments for age-related neurodegeneration as Americans live longer, are all signs that the sector will grow.
Other spaces ripe for investment include metabolic disease, driven by weight- and diabetes-fighting GLP-1 drugs; and immunology, which is being used to tackle more diseases beyond cancer.