Koch Institute Gallery

The Celebration  of Innovation in  Kendall Sq—held on April 29 at  MIT’s David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research-–  definitely lived up to its title.

Among other innovations I’m still celebrating:

  • A university president (Susan Hockfield of MIT) walked over,  introduced herself and actually seemed interested in learning about ME.
  •   21 speakers got through their material in 25 minutes,  total. (Good thing, because the audience of approximately 150 stood, sipping wine, throughout).
  • Living” bronzed” statues of dead inventors Ben Franklin, Ada Lovelace, and Thomas Edison walked silently around the room–stopping, occasionally,  to pose for photos.
The event, sponsored by MIT and the Kendall Square Association,  was  introduced by Sarah Gallop of the MIT Office of Government and Community Relations and KSA.
Here’s a link to a video of the event–which Gallop sent me a few weeks after the event.
 Hockfield, the first speaker,  described some of the 150  new restaurants and corporations now populating the area.
Community leaders, scientists, technologists,  businesspeople and students then  provided brief rundowns on historic and present day scientific, economic,  community,  and  technologic advances associated with Cambridge.
  • Rudi Belliardi of the Wellington-Harrington Neighborhood Association described the development of polarizing lenses and quinine
  • Daniel Heller, a fellow at the Koch Institute, said that the Robert Langer Lab, where he works, is seeking ways to target cancer using nanotechnology.
  • Barbara Broussard, president of the East Cambridge Planning Team,  spoke about the development of  synthetic penicillin.
  • Noubar Afeyan, chair and co-founder of Joule Unlimited, explained how his company is developing renewable fuels from waste carbon dioxide.

    Tom Waggener, Physioanalytics and Susan Hockfield, MIT

Economic Development 

  • Dan O’Connell, president and CEO of the Mass Competitive Partnership, provided an overview of economic development  in the Kendall Square Area.
  • Alex Laats, partner Commonwealth Capital Ventures, outlined the origins and importance of  the Internet.
  • Bill Aulet, managing director of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, spoke about  the rise of entrepreneurs.
  • Yi-Han Ma, co-president of the MIT Sloan Venture Capital and Private Equity Club, went into the growth of the venture capital industry.
  • Tim Rowe, Founder and CEO of  the Cambridge Innovation Center, and President of the Kendall Square Association, described the area as a “Startup Hive.”


  • Cambridge Mayer David Maher introduced the topic of  “community;”  Margaret Drury, the Cambridge City Clerk, described her pride at officiating at the nation’s first same-sex marriage ceremony.
  • John Durant, Director of the MIT Museum, told us about the upcoming weekend’s Cambridge Science Festival.
  • Program directors Rebecca Gallo and Caitlin McCormick, described their work at the East End House;  children Selena, Nubian, Ralph and Christelle acted out roles to bring out the current and historic importance of the Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House to the city’s immigrant population.
  • Jane Hirschi, Executive Director of CitySprouts, explained the importance of school gardens and kids growing food.
  • Travis McCready, Executive Director of the Kendall Square Association, described a recent low-tech camping experience in order to emphasize  the growing role of technology in daily life.
  • Gavin Kleespies, Executive Director of the Cambridge Historical Society–which provided historical background for the event– spoke on the development of microwave Radar
  • Susan Athey, Harvard Economics Professor and Microsoft’s Chief Economist, described the growth of Internet search–confessing that, perhaps for obvious reasons,  she is biased toward Microsoft’s Bing.
  • Roscoe Thomas, the Area IV Neighborhood Coordinator, told of  the trials and tribulations experienced by Elias Howe before he became  the first in the US to patent a sewing machine.
  •  Rod Brooks,  MIT Professor Emeritus  and Founder of Heartland Robotics and iRobot, spoke on the past and future of robotics.
After the event,  walking by sidewalk art by Robert Guillemin,   the Whitehead Institute, Novartis, and Amgen on the way  to my car,  I felt energized by the creativity, forward-looking spirit and excitement of the gathering. And I mused at how far Kendall Square has come since I first visited there in the 1970s–when it was inhabited mainly by run down factories and empty lots.

Free consultation with  the Harris Communications Group on Thursday, April 21, 2011
Social media is a wonderful outreach tool—but for landing customers, it’s only as good at the Web site it sends visitors to. During the recession, many companies and organizations neglected their Web sites —but as the economy improves, we are seeing great interest in replacing outdated content and clunky, old fashioned Web technologies with new material and functionality that is easy and inexpensive to use.
As part of Harriscom’s Third Thursday speaker series,  we will evaluate five Web sites for free.
If you’ll send your url to harriscom@harriscom.com, we’ll   meet with the first five companies to respond.
Meetings will be scheduled for Thursday, April 21, between three and five PM  at in the Cambridge (MA)  Innovation Center at 1 Broadway in a room yet to be determined.
  We’d  also be happy to look over forthcoming press releases and other marketing materials if you’ll send them ahead of time.
—Anita M. Harris
Anita  M. Harris is president of the award-winning  Harris Communications Group, a Cambridge, MA agency specializing in  strategic marketing communications, public relations and thought leadership for emerging companies in health, science, technology and energy fields.
  A former national journalist, Anita has reported for Newsday and the MacNeil/Lehrer Report of PBS, and served as a regular columnist for MSN.  She has taught communications at Harvard, Yale, Tufts and Babson and served as Public Affairs Director for the Harvard School of Public Health. 
In more than 12 years as a commumications consultant, she has developed Web content and navigation systems for  Inforonics, DIAMED, Radcliffe College, Center for the Study of Aging, and the St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, among other clients. She has provided media relations and thought leadership services to  a variety of companies in the US and abroad. 


The Harris Communications Group is pleased to present:

Branding for Startups and Emerging Companies: What, How, and Why for Busy Entrepreneurs.

A nuts and bolts workshop with Julianne Zimmerman, strategic consultant.

Moderated by Anita Harris, President, Harris Communications Group, and hosted by the Cambridge Innovation Center.

4 pm Thursday, December 9
Cambridge Innovation Center
1 Broadway 4th floor, Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA
Followed by networking at the Venture Cafe

The first in a series of workshop/seminars sponsored by the Harris Communications Group  at  the Cambridge Innovation Center

RSVP http://brandingforbusiness-harriscom.eventbrite.com/
Pre-registrants attending the workshop will be entered in a drawing to receive a complimentary hour of consulting with  Julianne Zimmerman or Anita Harris.


Julianne Zimmerman provides high-value strategic guidance to entrepreneurs and executives of small and early-stage organizations.  She is an accomplished veteran of boutique and startup companies, with more than 20 years’ experience in technical, strategic, and communications leadership roles,www.juliannezimmerman.com or www.linkedin.com/in/juliannezimmerman .

Anita Harris, president of the Harris Communications Group, is an award-winning strategic communications consultant specializing in marketing communications, media relations and social media for emerging and established companies. www.harriscom.com.

Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) is the largest flexible office facility for growing technology and life sciences companies in the Greater Boston area.

The Venture Café, currently in its alpha stage, is in session each Thursday from 3-8pm. The cafe is a resource for the Boston entrepreneurial and innovation communities with the mission of creating fresh and useful conversations. As the Venture Cafe prepares to enter its permanent home in Kendall Square, the founders project that the marriage of innovation and creativity with a European-style cafe space will facilitate collaboration and build a greater sense of community in Kendall Square. www.venturecafe.net. Information: Carrie Stalder, Founding Manager for The Venture Café, 617-329-1324, carrie@venturecafe.net

I’m very pleased to announce that the Harris Communications Group is now located at 1 Broadway, on the 14th floor of the esteemed Cambridge Innovation Center.

The CIC, founded in 1999, offers shared or dedicated space to some 250 startups and emerging companies–in an atmosphere of co-operation and positive energy. (Those are my words, not the CIC’s!)

My first day at the CIC, I met at least 10 people; now two weeks in, I’ve attended three “VC Cafes,” which are social events, open to CIC members and the public, at which venture capitalists are available, by appointment, to discuss funding opportunities. 

VC Cafe 4-15-10

I’ve also met Internet entrepreneur Costas Boussios; clinical trial designer Candida Fratazzi, MD , president of Boston Biotech Clinical Research; CIC founder Tim   Rowe ,  and a gentleman from another CIC floor whose name I did not catch but who advised me, in the 14th floor snack area, to stay away from the yogurt because it has high sugar content–then indulged in some,  himself.

14th floor snack area


Brenda Steinberg and Candida Fratazzi, of the CIC Women Innovators Network

On Thursday, I was invited to speak about blogging at a May meeting sponsored by the CIC Women Innovators Network (WIN), which will be open to everyone at the CIC.

Nicole, the concierge, whose last name I need to get.

I’m about to head over  now; can’t wait to see what the new week will bring!  

—–Anita M. Harris



HarrisCom blog is a publication of the Harris Communications Group of Cambridge, MA. We also publish the New Cambridge Observer and Ithaca Diaries blogs.

In a “report card” presented on Wednesday, Massachusetts Life Sciences  Center (MLSC) President and CEO Susan Windham- Bannister, PhD, shared both good news and caution following the Center’s first full year of operation.

MLSC was funded in 2008 to steward the  10-year, $1B  Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative– launched by Gov. Deval Patrick in 2007 to accelerate  biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics and bioinformatics in the state.

The good news, Bannister told an audience of approximately 100 over lunch at the Cambridge Innovation Center,  is that investment of $48.5 M in public dollars has attracted nearly $359M in matching investments from companies, foundations, government, institutes and other private investors—an 8-fold return.  “There’s still capital out there and life science is a good place to put your money,” she said.  “By putting state money into the pot, we have ‘de-risked’ investment that the state would have had to find elsewhere”.

Bannister pointed out that the funded projects  could lead to some 950 permanent or building-trade jobs in the near future.

She cautioned, however,  that in the current economic downturn, tax revenues are “iffy” and it’s not yet clear how much money will be available for the Initiative in 2010.

Headquartered in Waltham, the MLSC provides grants for public infrastructure products; tax incentives to encourage corporate growth and expansion; a loan program for early-stage companies, an “innovation fund” to promote potential job creation, revenue enhancement and   scientific advancement; and funds to encourage workforce development.

Bannister said that over the past year, MSLC has invested:

*Nearly $25M for capital projects including:

  • $5.2M for construction of a new wastewater facility to serve the Framingham Technology Park. The project, she said, will allow Genzyme Corporation to build a new facility expected to create 300 new manufacturing jobs in 2009.
  • $10M to renovate part of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole. The investment leveraged an additional $15 M in funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and is expected to create 200 jobs in the building trades and up to 50 permanent jobs.
  • $9.5  M to support construction of the New England Regional Biosafety Laboratory at the Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Grafton. The $33.6M project is projected to create 56 full-time equivalent construction jobs and 29 long-term positions—and one of just three comparable facilities in the nation.

*Accelerator” loans totaling $3.4 M for 7 companies, an expansion grant of $7.4M to a Canton company, and $12M to research institutions for collaborations with industry or other universities, attracting new faculty and funding young scientists.

*$695,000 in continued funding for the International Stem Cell Registry, a joint initiative between the Center and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

(In 2008, the MLSC invested $570,000 in the registry and $7.7 million in the affiliated Massachusetts Stem Cell Bank, which maintains and provides stem cell lines to the research community. The MLSC’s stem cell investments should help Massachusetts compete for new federal research dollars and provide stem cell lines to national and international academic commercial organizations, according to MLSC documents.)

*Funds  to companies for student internship opportunities, and is in discussions with several universities about new degree programs aimed at professional training that will combine business and science.

In 2009, Johnson and Johnson donated $500, 000 to MSLC—with no strings attached, Bannister said.

By adding employment opportunities,  these  investments and incentives could help to absorb some of the job losses expected in other sectors, according to Bannister.

Frank Reynolds, CEO of InVivo Therapeutics, which is developing stem cell/ polymer technology aimed at halting the effects of traumatic spinal cord injury, said that receiving a $500 thousand loan just as  venture capital possibilities tanked this fall made a tremendous difference in his company’s ability to proceed. ”  It’s a great program,” Reynolds said. (Disclosure:   I work with InVivo).

MLSC also provided loans ranging from $400,000 to $500,000 to:

  • Eutropics Pharmaceuticals ($500,000), a Dorchester company that is developing cancer drugs
  • Good Start Genetics of Boston, which is developing a low-cost pre-pregnancy test for 50 genetic disorders
  •  PluroMed of Woburn, for  pioneering injectable plugs that occlude blood flow to provide surgeons with bloodless fields
  • SpectraAnalysis of Marlborough, for  developing instruments to analyze the molecular structure of each compound in a complex mixture
  •  Wadsworth Medical of Westborough, which is developing a painless, needless wound closure system without anesthesia or sutures and
  • Wolfe Laboratories of Watertown, which provides quantitative testing, formulation and strategy for biotech and pharmaceutical companies.

Co-operative research grants were awarded to:

  • U Mass Lowell and Boston Scientific for new polymer materials
  • The Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science and Physics and Rain Dance Technologies for development of a functional fluorescent-activated cell sorter
  • Massachusetts General Hospital and Idera Pharmaceuticals for targeting of toll-like receptors in auto-immune diseases
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Biomeasure for design and testing of a new regenerative protein for delivery
  • UMass Medical School and RXi Pharmaceuticals for development of orally-delivered RNAi therapeutics.

—Anita M. Harris,  Harris Communications Group,  Cambridge, MA         
Copyright: Anita M. Harris

%d bloggers like this: