May 22, 2012

Mass High Tech

Verastem rings the Nasdaq bell from Cambridge lab

Verastem Inc., (Nasdaq: VSTM) in Cambridge hosted the first-ever Nasdaq opening from inside the laboratory of a biopharmaceutical company on Tuesday.

Christoph Westphal, chairman and CEO of Verastem, rang the opening bell, which involves using a pen to push a button on a moveable podium. Westphal was joined by Verastem co-founder Robert Weinberg and other employees to commemorate the event, which was broadcast on MSNBC and shown live in Times Square.

While Nasdaq normally holds a remote opening just two or three times a year, this is the second in the past week, with Facebook ringing the opening bell last Friday, the day of its IPO.

The company, which is focused on discovering and developing drugs to treat breast and other cancers by targeting cancer stem cells, started trading on the Nasdaq following the successful completion of its IPO in early 2012.  The IPO raised $55 million and valued the then-one-year-old biotech at more than $120 million.

The company got its first $16 million Series A financing in November 2010 from Boston-based Longwood Founders Fund, Boston-based Bessemer Venture Partners, Princeton, N.J.-based Cardinal Partners and Boston-based MPM Capital.