No Appeal for Boston Scientific, No Luck for CombinatoRx Drug, No Complaints From Harvard, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

10/8/08

Overall, the news from Boston-area life sciences firms this past was not as much of a bummer as the first part of the headline might imply, but this first one isn’t great either…

—Cambridge, MA-based Idera Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:IDRA) reported that its experimental drug, IMO-2055, failed to have the desired effect on tumor size in a Phase 2 clinical trial among patients with a recurrent form of kidney cancer. Further studies will show whether the drug is effective in combination with other therapies.

—Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge, MA-based biotech whose irritable bowel syndrome treatment linaclotide is poised for Phase 3 clinical trials, raised $50 million from Morgan Stanley Investment Management, which led the deal, and many of its previous investors.

—Susan Froshauer, CEO of New Haven, CT-based Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, told Ryan about her seven-year-old firm’s platform for developing new antibiotics and about her plans to forge partnerships with pharma. Rib-X is testing its lead drug candidate, radezolid, head to head with Pfizer’s blockbuster linezolid.

—Shares of Cambridge, MA-based CombinatoRx (NASDAQ: CRXX) plummeted after the company reported that its lead drug candidate failed to reduce pain for patients with osteoarthritis of the knees in a mid-stage clinical trial.

—Luke visited with healthcare venture behemoth MPM Capital in Boston and learned about some of its most interesting recent investments, as well as its strategy for keeping its portfolio balanced between early stage innovation and firms with late-stage product candidates that promise short-term payoffs.

—Clarus Ventures of Cambridge, MA, led a $60 million Series D financing for Pittsboro, NC-based Biolex Therapeutics, which has a hepatitis C treatment in Phase 2 clinical trials. OrbiMed Advisors, Intersouth Partners, Quaker BioVentures, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, Investor Growth Capital, Polaris Ventures, Mitsui & Company, The Dow Chemical Company, JP Morgan Securities, the North Carolina Economic Development Fund, and others joined the deal.

—Billionaire philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss gave Harvard University $125 million–reportedly the largest gift in its history–to build a new institute for “biologically inspired engineering.”

—Cambridge, MA-based RNAi-based drug developer Alnylam (NASDAQ: ALNY) earned a $20 million milestone payment as part of an arrangement forged in May with Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical.

—The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX) of the $703 million verdict against the Natick, MA-based device maker in a patent-infringement case brought by Johnson & Johnson.

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  • C. decker

    Biolex drug is in Phase 2 and the funding was to fund the drug if and when it reaches Phase 3 (see company website).

  • http://www.xconomy.com/author/rzacks/ Rebecca Zacks

    Thanks for the good catch! That was a typo, it’s fixed now.
    Best,
    Rebecca