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For-profit biomedical institute, backed by billionaires, launches in Cambridge to speed drug discovery

A team of high-powered scientists and billionaire investors said Friday that they’re launching a biomedical institute in Cambridge’s Kendall Square with $500 million in private funding with the aim of shortening the path from research breakthroughs to life-saving medicines.

The institute, called Arena BioWorks, will put drug discovery and company creation under one roof, upending the traditional model where academic research and venture-backed drug development are separate.


Backed by deep-pocketed investors including Steve Pagliuca, the former co-chair of Bain Capital and Celtics co-owner, and high-tech mogul Michael Dell, Arena has already lured top scientists from academic labs with lucrative compensation packages, but so far has publicly named only a few.

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