Novartis Deal Could Boost Ascent by $200M, Ariad’s Boardroom Drama Comes to Light, Targanta Takes Another Hit, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

12/10/08

Boston-area life sciences firms made a good showing at two important meetings this week. Luke and Ryan gave the rundown on those, and took a look at a couple very interesting startups.

—Ryan checked in with Frank Reynolds, spinal-cord-injury survivor and CEO of InVivo Therapeutics, about the progress of his company’s Cambridge, MA-based effort to develop an implant that could prevent some cases of paralysis. With $3 million from family and friends (so far) and technology initially developed in the famous Langer lab at MIT, InVivo could get FDA clearance to begin human testing of its polymer-based device next year.

—Cambridge, MA-based Ascent Therapeutics inked a deal worth as much as $200 million with Novartis; the agreement would give the drug giant rights to co-develop Ascent’s new class of treatments, called “pepducins.”

Xconomist David Resnick shared his hope that the Obama administration will breathe new life into two areas of life sciences: embryonic stem cell research and personalized medicine.

Sirtris CEO Christoph Westphal was tapped to help lead GlaxoSmithKline’s Center of Excellence for External Drug Discovery and help GSK form alliances that will strengthen its pipeline. Westphal will also continue to run Cambridge, MA-based Sirtris, which GSK acquired in June for $720 million.

—We dispatched Ryan to the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council’s annual MassBio Investors Forum, a sort of a mixer for local biotechs and the various investors, partners, and other backers who (hopefully) keep them going. With traditional sources of cash scarce this year, the MBC put more emphasis on funding from disease foundations such as the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

The FDA declined to approve an application … Next Page »

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