As part of his budget proposal, Trump moved to slash funding for the National Institutes of Health by 20 percent, or almost $6 billion.
That's one of four issues highlighted by Alnylam CEO John Maraganore as reasons to support the march. Between 70 and 100 employees of Alnylam will be there, according to spokeswoman Christine Lindenboom.
"I think it stands for a gathering of a group of people to express their views under a set of circumstances where diversity is under attack, where the facts of climate change are being challenged, the NIH budget is being proposed to be shrunk, and where FDA standards on efficacy and safety are being questioned," Maraganore said in a telephone interview Friday. "These are science-based philosophies and views that are truly being questioned right now."
Alnylam, along with industry group MassBio and the Kendall Square Association, is also organizing a photo shoot in the Kendall Square biotech hub of Cambridge, aiming to highlight the diversity in the life sciences industry — an issue that also has political underpinnings given Trump's immigration policies.
"The travel ban and immigration ban proposed by the administration are something we are strongly against," Maraganore said. "The fact that it discriminates against religions and the quality of people we like to bring into our companies from all parts of the world — that's a feature on diversity that we are all in solidarity and agreement with."
Many life sciences companies declined to officially back the march, leaving participation up to individual employees.
Steve Holtzman, CEO of Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup Decibel Therapeutics, said he asked an internal group at his company to come up with a position on the march.
"They reached a conclusion that the company should not endorse or sponsor out of respect that, unfortunately, the march will be viewed in the current environment as partisan and that out of respect for those that may not share partisan views in the company that the company ought not to do it," Holtzman said. But, he said, "a lot of people from the company will be there."