Genzyme and Boston Scientific Get Good News From the FDA; Acusphere and Targanta Not So Much; TransMedics Pulls IPO Plug; & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

12/17/08

New England’s life sciences firms got a lot of news from the FDA this past week—not all of it good. Here’s more on that, and the rest of the week’s news from the sector.

—Ryan caught up with the CEO of Targanta Therapeutics (NASDAQ:TARG) the day after the FDA has decided to not to approve the Cambridge, MA-based biotech firm’s antibiotic oritavancin. Mark Leuchtenberger says Targanta will need to raise money to fund the clinical trial that the FDA will require the company to conduct before once again considering oritavancin, which would be the firm’s first marketed product, and that Targanta will “take the appropriate steps” to use its existing funds appropriately.

—Another local life sciences firm, Watertown, MA-based Acusphere (NASDAQ:ACUS), also got bad news about its lead product candidate when an FDA advisory panel voted 16-1 against recommending approval of the heart imaging agent known as perflubutane polymer microspheres (Imagify). The FDA is not obligated to follow such advice, but it usually does.

—Cambridge, MA-based Semprus BioSciences reportedly raised $8 million in a Series A financing round led by 5AM Ventures and Pangaea Ventures. Semprus is developing antimicrobial coatings for medical devices.

—Infinity Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: INFI) of Cambridge, MA, announced that its partner, AstraZeneca, has decided to give back its share of a program focused on developing cancer drugs that block a target called heat shock protein 90. Luke offered a couple of points of view on what AstraZeneca’s decision means, and how it might affect Infinity.

—Ryan spoke with officials from several of the disease foundations that are an increasingly important source of funding for biotechs such as Cambridge, MA-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:VRTX). But with their own budgets being squeezed by the economic downturn, foundations are … Next Page »

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