Vertex Cashes Out HIV Drugs, FDA Smiles on Infinity and Frowns on Indevus, Alnylam Makes Cross-Border Investment, & More Life Sciences News

6/5/08

Boston-area life sciences firms had mixed success navigating regulatory waters this week. Here’s the skinny on that and the rest of the week’s biomedical news.

—Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: VRTX) sold the rights to its royalty stream on two HIV drugs for $160 million; the Cambridge, MA-based firm plans to use the cash to help bring its hepatitis C drug, telaprevir, to market.

—Syndexa Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, MA—a spinoff of the Harvard School of Public Health pursuing new treatments for metabolic diseases—announced it has raised $15 million in a Series B financing round.

—The FDA gave Cambridge, MA-based Infinity Pharmaceuticals permission to skip Phase II trials of its drug for stomach cancer, based on a promising early study. The unusual move could shorten by two years the time it takes to bring the drug to market.

—The FDA was less kind to Lexington, MA’s Indevus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IDEV), requiring that the company complete a new clinical trial of its long-lasting testosterone replacement therapy product, Nebido, before the agency will approve the drug.

—Cambridge, MA-based Alnylam Pharmaceuticals invested $5 million in Tekmira Pharmaceuticals of Vancouver; the deal gives Alnylam access to the Canadian firm’s technology for delivering drugs based on RNA interference.

—Danvers, MA, cardiac device maker Abiomed (NASDAQ: ABMD) won approval for an in-heart pump designed to help critically ill patients for short periods of time.

—Luke took a closer look at Alexandria Real Estate Equities’ recently proposed $1 billion makeover of the Cambridge, MA, neighborhood that is Xconomy’s back yard as an always-open urban mecca for life sciences professionals.

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