The Gardner News
January 28, 2009
By Jean-Paul Salamanca
GARDNER — Local life sciences company New England Peptide LLC and local officials have expressed their hope the company’s potential expansion could create a new life sciences hub in Gardner which could lead to more than 200 new local jobs in tough economic times.
In November, company and city officials met with officials from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center in hopes of procuring $12 million for a Food and Drug Administration-registered facility in Summit Industrial Park to make peptides for use in humans for clinical trials and commercial purposes. If approved, it could create more than 200 jobs for the company within the city.
Mayor Mark Hawke said the meeting with center officials had “opened their eyes” to the possibilities of the city functioning as an active life sciences hub.
“They weren’t aware of the possibilities for any bio-life research here in Gardner,” he said. “They were impressed with New England Peptide, and they’ve been in touch ever since.”
According to Dave Robinson, chief executive officer of the company, the center was currently evaluating their decision, Mr. Robinson said.
The mayor said the city would be working with the company in order to help them progress in their growth.
“They employ a lot of local people and a lot of people in the regional area,” said Mayor Hawke. “Hopefully, they can continue to grow into the next Nichols and Stone.”
Mr. Robinson said Gardner has all the ingredients to become a thriving life sciences cluster, with its location providing access to colleges such as Mount Wachusett Community College and University of Massachusetts’ hospitals, like UMass Memorial Medical Center and Heywood Hospital, and life science employers in Worcester such as Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., as well as proximity to Boston, one of the leading biotech research hubs in the world.
“If we and other companies grow, then it can lead to the creation of more jobs within the city,” said Mr. Robinson.
In other news, the company recently announced they have named Dr. Ved Srivastava, a veteran doctor with more than 20 years experience in pharmaceutical research as the new vice president for research production.
Mr. Robinson said he welcomed the addition of Dr. Srivastava to the staff in hopes that he could bring a new perspective in understanding and developing their peptides for government and research institutions, diagnostics companies and biotech pharmaceutical companies.
“He brings a real understanding and a heightened sensitivity to looking at the peptides being used by our customers,” he said .
Although those products were labeled confidential because they are in development as of press time, Mr. Robinson said the products in development would be “value-added services that would help customers before and after peptide production.”
Peptides are small proteins that play key roles in biochemical regulation of all life systems, helping to fight diseases as diverse as cancer, diabetes, obesity and HIV/AIDS. Because of their unique nature, peptides can be synthesized and manufactured for research and clinical use in the treatment of cancer, diabetes, and neurological and cardiovascular disorders, among other diseases.
Dr. Srivastava stated in a press release statement he was “excited to join New England Peptide.
NEP is committed to innovation in peptide technology and to provide the highest levels of quality service. I am also very impressed with the entire team at NEP, and I look forward to contributing to achieving our strategic goals.”
Bringing in more than 20 years of experience from companies like Psylin Neurosciences Inc., where he specialized in pharmaceutical research, inflammation and diseases, Dr. Srivastava will be responsible for overseeing the company’s production line in his new position.
Mr. Robinson added that with Dr. Srivastava on board, the company hopes to utilize his experience in an effort to continue to develop services that would “serve the evolving needs of our customers.”