Lykan Bioscience’s Road to Success: From One Man’s Idea to the New Gold Standard
MassEcon’s Team Massachusetts Economic Impact Awards
“On April 7th, Lykan Bioscience, an innovative contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) for cell-based therapies, was awarded the Gold Award in MassEcon’s 18th Annual Team Massachusetts Economic Impact Awards. Recognizing Lykan’s innovation, investment, employment growth, commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and philanthropic efforts in the community, this achievement marked the first of hopefully many awards in Lykan’s journey to becoming a best-in-class cell therapy CDMO.”
“Lykan is so blessed in every sense to have employees who are committed to our Mission and Vision. Together, as one team, we live everyday by our core values: Innovation, Excellence, Trust and Respect, Teamwork and Integrity. We strive to make Lykan the most highly regarded and innovative CDMO creating a healthier world through advanced cell-based therapies with unparalleled quality.” said Lykan President and CEO Patrick Lucy.
It all started with a dream to solve a complex problem. Cell-based therapies present a life-saving treatment option for seriously ill patients. However, due to the fact that it is personalized therapy they are notoriously difficult to manufacture due to their complex nature, the logistics required to get them to the patients is complex and the overall cost is extremely high. What if a company could create a cost-effective, highly efficient manufacturing approach for cell-based therapies, supported by a software-enabled, streamlined supply chain solution that would expand access to these therapies to the patients that need them?
“Right from the beginning our focus was to provide as many patients as we could with these lifesaving therapies”
“Right from the beginning our focus was to provide as many patients as we could with these lifesaving therapies” recalls Lykan’s Founder and Executive Vice Chairman, Anthony Rotunno. With more than 45 years in the pharmaceutical industry, Rotunno noticed the lack of patient accessibility to most cell therapies. Together with colleagues experienced in manufacturing, engineering, and strategy, Rotunno established Lykan Bioscience to bring his idea to life: reach more patients so that they can build a healthier future.
Many members of the original Lykan team had worked together on Dendreon’s PROVENGE®, the first autologous cell-based immunotherapy that received marketing authorization from the US FDA over a decade ago. With over 30,000 treated patients and a manufacturing success rate above 99.5% under their belts, the Lykan team asked themselves “…if we could do it again using what we know now, what would we do differently?” Using their experience and their combined learnings in cell therapy, engineering, and biopharmaceuticals, the plan for Lykan Bioscience’s facility was born: it would be a facility purpose-built for the most optimized cell therapy manufacturing production.
With the Lykan name and mission in hand, funding was secured in 2019 through seed investors and Windrose Health Investors. Design and construction of the manufacturing facility began that same year with completion in 2020. Despite a global pandemic, Lykan hit the ground running with a focus on optimizing processes and securing quality talent.
Lykan’s award-winning operations and workforce has been centered around Lykan’s passion for its people, its partners and the patients we intend to serve. In the words of Rotunno, “any building, no matter how nice it is, is worth only 10 cents on the dollar without the people inside it”.
Lykan’s passion for its employees helped it to grow to a current headcount of 81, with a goal of over 130 employees by the end of 2022. With a laser focus on establishing new partnerships, building a diverse and experienced team and developing a positive company culture, Lykan quickly established internal initiatives to define mission, vision and values, awarding employees for their hard work and dedication. Programs and incentives including top tier benefits, quarterly and annual recognition awards, seasonal recreational events, career development opportunities and other efforts have helped to attract top candidates to Lykan in the extremely competitive Massachusetts biotechnology employment market.
Beyond the facility walls, Lykan has worked to make a positive impact on the local community through partnerships with the Town of Hopkinton and philanthropic organizations including Project Just Because, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and UNICEF USA. Pledges of future expansions and job growth have made Lykan a reliable corporate partner in the local community.
MassEcon, Massachusetts’s non-profit partner in promoting business growth in the Commonwealth, hosts its annual IMPACT awards recognizing Gold, Silver, and Bronze organizations in the state’s five regions.
The winners’ significant contributions to the local and state economies are criteria for recognition, including establishment or expansion of operations, hiring initiatives and job creation, facility investment, social impact/philanthropy, and DEI practices. With this award, MassEcon recognizes the innovation, resilience, and leadership quality of the award winners with special acknowledgment of the resilience of these firms during the unprecedented COVID-19 business conditions.
Of the 60 nominees and the five gold awardees, Lykan’s Gold award is a testament to Lykan’s partner-focused, patient-driven strategy and the strength of an idea to help people in need.