How NewLink Genetics defied its location and put Iowa on biotech's map
- NewLink Generics is a sizzling hot biotech company with top-shelf drug candidates for treatment of Ebola and cancer. It's Iowa-based, but building out geographically to places such as Austin, Texas for sales workers and Boston, MA for Ebola research, the WSJ reports.
- The CEO, Charles Link, is a former National Cancer Institute oncologist, who founded NewLink in 1999.
- The company has successfully attracted top scientists from around the world to work at its research laboratories.
Location is important in the biopharma industry (and in most other situations as well), especially considering the current clustering going on in hubs in the Boston and San Francisco areas. However, sometimes location becomes important by virtue of what's built and created in a specific place, regardless of outside perceptions.
In the case of NewLink Generics, founder and CEO, Charles Link, wanted a midwestern childhood for his children and decided to start NewLink in Iowa after a stint as a lead cancer investigator at the Iowa Methodist Medical Center.
NewLink it thoroughly grounded in Iowa. The biggest shareholder is Harry Stine, a soybean billionaire. NewLink has been in the news a lot lately because of its co-development deal with Merck for a promising Ebola vaccine. With market capitalization of $1.57 billion and a strong growth trajectory, NewLink will definitely continue to look beyond Iowa for talent and ancillary locations, but it will remain Iowa-based for the foreseeable future.