Patent Reform Blocked, Epix Deal Expanded, Repligen Suit Settled, & More Life Sciences News

4/9/08

Sure there was a venture funding, some FDA news, and a few interesting alliances last week. But for many members of the Boston-area life sciences community the big news came from Virginia…

—The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia blocked a patent-reform package—vehemently opposed by the biotech and pharma industries—that would have limited the number of claims and continuation applications that patent seekers could make. Patent lawyers were still dancing the next day, Xconomist David Resnick told us.

—Cambridge, MA-based Genzyme (NASDAQ: GENZ) pledged about $200 million to expand its manufacturing operation in Waterford, Ireland. The expansion will create 170 highly skilled jobs, according to an announcement from Ireland’s Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

Radius Health closed a $28.3 million second tranche of its Series C round. MPM Capital, The Wellcome Trust, HealthCare Ventures, Oxford Bioscience Partners, BB Biotech Ventures, and Scottish Widows Investment Partnership all participated in the deal.

—A new test for the “superbug” methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) won FDA approval. Its manufacturer, Waltham, MA-based Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE: TMO), said the test could help healthcare facilities screen their patients.

—Epix Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: EPIX) of Lexington, MA, expanded its alliance with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The arrangement, focused on developing drugs that target an errant protein in cystic fibrosis patients, could now be worth more than $50 million for Epix. I did a quick run-down of the many local firms now taking advantage of such “venture philanthropy” deals.

—Waltham, MA-based Repligen (NASDAQ: RGEN) settled a patent suit that it filed with the University of Michigan against Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY). The deal entitles Repligen to an initial $5 million payment, as well as royalties on BMS’s arthritis drug.

 

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