Proteostasis Therapeutics Procures $45M, Stealthy Startup Gets Serious About Shampoo, MA Life Sciences Center Chief Shares Her Plans, & More Life Sciences News

8/27/08

There were some exciting venture deals this past week, and some great in-depth reporting about Boston-area life sciences firms on the part of Luke and Ryan. In case you missed any of it….

—Ryan did some sleuthing on a stealthy startup down the street from Xconomy’s headquarters in Kendall Square, MA, and uncovered (at least partially) Living Proof. With a board that includes MIT’s Robert Langer and Polaris Venture Partners as an investor, the startup is leveling some impressive scientific and business firepower against bad hair days and other cosmetic complaints—and it has $7 million in new financing to buoy its quest for beauty.

—Brand-new Boston-area startup Proteostasis Therapeutics closed a massive $45 million Series A financing from HealthCare Ventures, Fidelity BioSciences, New Enterprise Associates, Novartis BioVenture Fund, and Genzyme Ventures. The firm is aiming to develop small-molecule treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, emphysema, and other ailments that work by helping the body maintain normal protein production.

—Medical diagnostics startup Quanterix, a Tufts University spinoff in Cambridge, MA, reportedly raised $15 million in a Series A financing from Arch Venture Partners, Bain Capital, and Flagship Ventures. The startup is developing tools capable of identifying single molecules in human blood.

—Just hired to head the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center—the agency that will administer the state’s $1 billion funding initiative—Susan Windham-Bannister shared her goals and plans for the center in a lengthy interview with Luke. (He had the good sense to save the hard questions for part 2.)

—Wondering what happens to the IP when a biotech goes bust? Ryan caught up with Wellesley, MA, accountant Joseph Finn, who puts defunct firms’ patents on the auction block.

Resolvyx Pharmaceuticals raised $4 million in an add-on to a $25 million Series B financing round that the Bedford, MA-based company closed in April. Atlas Venture, Flagship Ventures, Radius Ventures, CHL Medical Partners, Biogen Idec, and QVT Fund are supporting the startup’s efforts to turn fish-oil science into treatments for a host of inflammatory diseases.

—Genzyme (NASDAQ: GENZ) of Cambridge, MA, and the nonprofit Medicines for Malaria Venture formed an alliance with India’s Advinus Therapeutics to develop new treatments for pregnant women and infants infected with malaria.

The FDA said that it is working with Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) and Elan (NYSE: ELN) to update the labeling for Tysabri following confirmation that two multiple sclerosis patients on the drug had contracted the often-fatal brain infection PML.

—Lexington, MA-based Indevus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INDEV) raised $105 million in a private placement of notes; the cash is intended to retire existing debt and carry Indevus into calendar 2010.

—Bob gave a sneak peek of our September 23 forum, How to Build a Life Sciences Company. Robert Langer will be a keynoter at the event; I’m betting it will be a good hair day for him.

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