Alnylam and Merck Go Their Separate Ways, TransMedics Files to Go Public, ZipCar Reservation System Ready to Go Anywhere, and More

9/24/07

Another week, another giant inbox full of news. Here are the highlights.

—Not long after closing one of New England’s 10 biggest second-quarter venture deals, Andover-based TransMedics filed for an IPO. The firm, which is developing a device for keeping donated organs for transplantation warm and functioning outside of the body, proposed a maximum price of $86.25 for the offering; it plans to trade under the symbol TMDX on the NASDAQ Global Market.

—Cambridge-based Microbia inked a 50/50 partnership deal with New York’s Forest Laboratories to develop and market Microbia’s Linaclotide, which is being investigated as a treatment for gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome and chronic constipation. The deal includes an initial $70 million in licensing fees to Microbia; licensing and milestone payments together could total $330 if the drug makes it to the U.S. market.

—For on-the-go pedestrians who want to hop in a car and keep on going, Cambridge’s ZipCar announced a new version of its online reservation system that can be accessed from cell phones and other devices.

—It was another busy week for venture deals. Cambridge-based Radius Health, which is developing osteoporosis drugs and other products for women’s health, sold $10 million in Series C stock to Novartis (via a venture fund jointly run by Novartis and MPM Capital). In a “separate but related agreement,” Radius granted Novartis an option worth up to $500 million on its osteoporosis drug candidate; the In Vivo Blog has an interesting analysis of the deal. PeopleCube, a provider of “calendaring, resource and event management solutions” in Waltham, announced it had raised $17 million by selling all of its outstanding shares to Truffle Capital and Big Bang Ventures. Woburn, MA-based Intrinsic Therapeutics, which makes spinal-surgery equipment, closed a Series D round worth about $21 million, according to PE Week Wire. Infectious-disease diagnostics maker AdvanDx, also of Woburn, announced a $15 million Series C financing from bioMérieux (a new investor for the firm), LD Pensions, and SLS Venture. Acton, MA-based mobile software developer Peermeta said it has raised $6 million in a Series A round from Sigma Partners and Kepha Partners. Watham-based Proteon Therapeutics, which is developing drugs to treat renal and vascular diseases, announced it has raised an additional $12 million from its current investors, which include TVM Capital, Skyline Ventures, Prism VentureWorks, and Intersouth Partners; the deal brings the firm’s Series A total to about $31 million.

—Mansfield, MA-based NDO Surgical said it had won FDA clearance for its implant technology for treating gastroesophageal reflux disease. The firm’s investors include Versant Ventures, Polaris Ventures, and Menlo Ventures.

—Dossia, a consortium of large employers including AT&T, Intel, and Wal-Mart, announced that it would collaborate with Children’s Hospital Boston to develop an online medical records system. The aim of the system, according to the announcement, is “to empower individuals to manage their own health care, improve communications with their doctors, and provide more complete and accurate information for healthcare providers than the current system, which continues to be fragmented and still partially paper-based.”

—Just a couple of months after announcing a huge partnership with Roche, Cambridge-based RNAi firm Alnylam (NASDAQ: ALNY) announced that it is ending its partnership with Merck, with whom it began collaborating in 2003. Alnylam’s stock, which was already having a good month, closed Friday at $33.57, up $5.46 for the week.

—Genzyme’s Campath, which was approved in 2001 as a second-line therapy for B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia, gained FDA approval as a first-line therapy for the disease. A Genzyme spokesperson declined to comment on how the expanded approval would affect the firm’s market for or revenue from the drug (which is marketed in the U.S. by Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals), but the firm’s most recent annual report predicted it would increase the number of potential U.S. users of the treatment from about 2,500 to 9,500.

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