Forma Emerges With Well-Formed Cancer-Drug Strategy, Biogen Idec Preps for Parkinson’s Drug Data, Endo Buys out Indevus, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

1/7/09

We’ve got some M&A activity, some board-room drama, and some cool new companies and drug-development strategies–the year’s off to an interesting start for New England’s life sciences firms.

—Forma Therapeutics, flush with $25 million from the likes of the Novartis Option Fund and Singapore’s Bio*One Capital, emerged from stealth mode to unveil its strategy for discovering new ways to battle cancer. Ryan gave an early look inside the startup, which was co-founded by a group that included three stars from the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT—Todd Golub, Stuart Schreiber, and Michael Foley—and which already has operations in Cambridge, MA (where it’s headquartered); Branford, CT; Beijing; and Singapore.

—The Massachusetts Ethics Commission fined Massachusetts Biotechnology Council president Bob Coughlin $10,000 for taking part as a state official in meetings about policies relevant to the biotech industry while he was “secretly” a candidate for the MBC leadership post.

—Luke got an overview of Cambridge, MA-based Biogen Idec’s (NASDAQ: BIIB) efforts to develop a new type of treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Results from a mid-stage trial of the drug, currently known as BIIB-014, are due out next week at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco.

—Ryan reminisced about some of last year’s most interesting life sciences deals. Between GlaxoSmithKline’s $720 million buyout of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, ProteoStasis Therapeutics’ $45 million launch, and the like, perhaps it wasn’t such a bad year after all.

—Cheshire, CT-based Alexion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALXN) agreed to license a patent related to humanizing antibodies for $25 million from PDL BioPharma (NASDAQ:PDLI) as part of a settlement of a legal dispute between the two companies.

—Indevus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IDEV) of Lexington, MA, agreed to be acquired by Endo Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ENDP) for $370 million, or $4.50 a share. Indevus shareholders could get another $267 million if certain regulatory and sales goals are met.

—David Barlow, the former CEO and chairman of Molecular Insight Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:MIPI), resigned from the Cambridge, MA-based company’s board of directors citing “significant and sustained disagreements…regarding business philosophy, strategy and practice” with the rest of the board.

–Natick, MA-based Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) acquired drug-eluting stent developer Labcoat of Galway, Ireland. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Synta Pharmaceuticals forged a drug-development alliance with Swiss drug giant Roche that could eventually yield up to $1 billion in payments for Lexington, MA-based Synta. The agreement, which focuses on treatments for inflammatory diseases, calls for Roche to pay Synta $25 million in upfront license fees.

By posting a comment, you agree to our terms and conditions.