BioBuzz by Workforce Genetics

Human Genome Sciences Alumni Gather to Catch Up and Commemorate 10 Years Since GSK Acquisition

2022 marks 10 years since GSK acquired Human Genome Sciences (HGS), a biopharmaceutical corporation founded in 1992 by Craig Venter, Alan Walton and Wally Steinberg that played a substantial role on the growth of the BioHealth Capital Region and defined an important era in biotech history. In the years following the acquisition some stayed on to grow their careers at GSK, while others moved on to new pastures and pursuits. 

The diaspora of HGS alumni is a true testament to the impact that HGS has made in the biotech industry. Alumni from HGS have gone on to start dozens of new companies, and many are now in leadership roles where they have brought their experience and lessons learned to make an impact with top companies across the region including REGENXBIO, Macrogenics, Kite, Arcellx and many others.

Besides having a heavy hand in advancing the field of genomic medicines and solidifying the foundation for what has become the bustling I-270 Biotech Corridor, it’s clear that HGS has also had a major impact on the lives of those who worked there.

Kymanox and BioIT Solutions, both of which were founded by x-HGS employees, recently engaged BioBuzz to host an HGS reunion event at True Respite Brewing Co., bringing together over 140 alumni of the organization. Some attendees even came in from out of state to catch up with former colleagues and friends that they haven’t seen in years.

Alumni reminisced about everything from company-wide celebrations such as the Belysta approval and launch party, going public with their IPO, and happy hours to more intimate get-togethers such as the recurring bioinformatics team bagel group and lunch outings to Chick-fil-a. Toasts were also made by former HGS leaders including Mike Fannon of BioIT Solutions who was one of the first HGS employees and VP and CIO, David Hilbert most recently of Arcellx who was VP of Research at HGS, and several others.

“The people at HGS helped usher in the era of genomics medicine and helped to build Maryland into the leading region it is today.  It was great to have an opportunity to get a little nostalgic and honor this period of our lives and careers that ended up creating many opportunities for us to be a force of good!” said Stephen Perry, Chief Executive Officer at Kymanox and former Senior Process Engineer at HGS. “I was overwhelmed at the response this event created and it was joyous to see the true power and strength of relationships and community in action.  We’ll have to do this again sometime!”

Maryland Science Olympiad State Director Robert Bruce and BioBuzz Head of BD Adam Van Bavel

Besides the good brews and good company, attendees also came together for a good cause. Giving back to the community is an important part of Kymanox’s culture that they take very seriously through their Kymanox Cares program, so it was important to Stephen and team that this was part of the event. A raffle was held in support of the Maryland Science Olympiad, a hands-on K-12 science program that includes rigorous academic interscholastic tournaments to help bolster the next generation of STEM enthusiasts. Together, attendees raised hundreds of dollars in support of the program.

“This event was all about community. I appreciate the chance to reinforce valuable business and personal connections,” said Mike Fannon, President and CEO of BioIT Solutions and former Vice President and Chief Information Officer at HGS. “I look back fondly on my time at HGS as foundational for my career and current business endeavors.  Through you, the HGS ethos has become an enduring legacy for which I am thankful and proud.  Best wishes for continued prosperity and happiness.”

Weren’t able to attend the event in person? Catch some snippets from the evening below:

Thanks to Kymanox and BioIT Solutions for their sponsorship to make this HGS reunion event happen! Let’s do it again soon.

Check out the picture gallery!