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Boston’s Biotech Women Take Center Stage

The last few days has seen a number of events in the Boston Biotech Cluster which have involved women executives. Here is our pick of the top 5:

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Atlas Maps Path Towards Unlocking Gender Potential

Last month, Atlas Ventures investor and blogger Bruce Booth, penned a tremendous analysis of gender inequality in the biotech sector. I recommend you read it here. He made the case for a far greater level of women participation at the C-suite and Board level of biotechnology companies, and openly discussed the perceived shortcomings that Atlas Ventures has in this area of leadership appointments among its portfolio firms.

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Turning Insight into Action for Improved Gender Diversity

Following the publication of our research studies into gender diversity in the biotechnology industry (Diversifying the Outlook – The X&Y of Biotechnology Leadership, Investing in Biotechnology Management), we decided to take the findings of this research and engage with leaders throughout the biotech sector in positive gender-inclusive dialogue. This led to a successful event; Prioritizing Gender Equity, which we constructed collaboratively with partner organisations; Women in Bio and growBOLD. This was a great success with over 100 leaders from across the San Francisco and Bay Area biotech cluster cramming into Genentech’s HQ office to hear some of our top-line data, and even more importantly some great insights from a range of industry leaders.

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Cyber-Risk is Challenging Boards, Are You Ready?

The incredible challenge faced by corporations today in protecting data from cyber-attacks is ever evolving. The frequency and sophistication of cyber-attacks are testing CEOs, executive teams and perhaps more acutely, the Board. The Board of Directors is clearly responsible for risk oversight, and ‘Cyber-Risk’ is another form of corporate risk that they have to address. As part of their risk management responsibilities, the board should be defining and understanding the level of risk their company is exposed to and ensuring they are taking the appropriate measures to manage the risk through the correct processes and structures.

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Vertex and CRISPR Therapeutics Form Research Collaboration

BOSTON & CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts – Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated and CRISPR Therapeutics have announced that the two companies have entered into a strategic research collaboration focused on the use of CRISPR’s gene editing technology, known as CRISPR-Cas9, to discover and develop potential new treatments aimed at the underlying genetic causes of human disease. The collaboration will evaluate the use of CRISPR-Cas9 across multiple diseases where targets have been validated through human genetics. Vertex and CRISPR will focus their initial gene editing research on discovering treatments to address the mutations and genes known to cause and contribute to cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease. Vertex and CRISPR will also evaluate a specified number of other genetic targets as part of the collaboration. Vertex will have exclusive rights to license up to six new CRISPR-Cas9-based treatments that emerge from the collaboration. As part of the collaboration, Vertex made an up-front commitment of $105 million to CRISPR, including $75 million in cash and a $30 million equity investment. CRISPR is also eligible to receive future development, regulatory and sales milestones and royalty payments on future sales.

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Wilson’s Board Gets a New Chairman

Wilson Therapeutics has announced that Andrew Kay has been appointed as Chairman of its Board of Directors. The company’s previous Chairman, Hugh Rienhoff, M.D. will continue to advise the company as a consultant.

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Board Appointment for IPO-ready Dimension Therapeutics

Just days after setting the terms for its pending IPO, Dimension Therapeutics, Inc., a leading rare disease company advancing novel, liver-directed treatments for diverse genetic disorders,  announced the election of Alan B. Colowick, M.D., M.P.H., Executive Vice President of Celgene Corporation, to Dimension’s Board of Directors. Dr. Colowick brings strong operational expertise and more than 15 years of experience in biopharmaceutical development. His election to the company’s Board is effective immediately.

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Celgene Board Diversifies Above Key 30% Mark

Celgene has announced the appointment of Julia Haller, M.D, to the Board of Directors. The appointment means Celgene now has three females on the board and reaches a 33% ratio of women non-executive board directors, a critical mass that is likely to drive a significant advantage for the way in which Celgene is governed and also contribute to a sustainable level of diversity. With strong advocates for gender diversity on its board, such as Michael Bonney and Richard Barker, Celgene is showing that it is very much possible to create a gender diverse board of directors in biotechnology.

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