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ZS Genetics Enters the X Prize Fray, Biogen Falls on Rituxan News, Acusphere Takes a Step Toward Clinical Finish Line, & More Life Sciences News

While we were gearing up to discuss the future of life sciences in New England (more on that soon), here’s what was happening in the present.

—Cambridge, MA-based Constellation Pharmaceuticals picked up $32 million in a Series A financing round co-led by Third Rock Ventures, The Column Group, and Venrock. Third Rock and Millennium Pharmaceuticals co-founder Mark Levin is serving as the startup’s interim CEO.

—Acusphere Inc. (NASDAQ: ACUS) of Watertown, MA, announced it has submitted its lead product candidate for FDA approval. Back in November, Malorye described the 14-year-old firm’s struggle to commercialize the product—an ultrasound imaging agent for cardiac testing—before it runs out of money.

—Shares of Biogen Idec(NASDAQ: BIIB) closed down 5.2 percent Tuesday on news that a clinical trial of Rituxan in patients with lupus failed to meet its primary endpoint or any of its secondary endpoints. Rituxan, a joint effort of Biogen and Genentech, is already approved for the treatment of non-Hodgkins lymphoma and rheumatoid arthritis.

ZS Genetics entered the Archon X Prize for Genomics competition. The Reading, MA, firm joins local contenders 454 Life Sciences of Branford, CT, and the Personal Genome X-Team (PGx), led by Harvard Medical School’s George Church, in the competition for the $10 million prize.

—Stealthy startup Arch Therapeutics inked a licensing deal with MIT giving the firm a lock on technology to stop and prevent bleeding. The licensed IP covers a family of clear liquids containing nanoscale peptides that self-assemble into a biodegradable gel upon contacting a wound.