Regulus Strikes Out On Its Own, J&J Seeks “Enlight”-enment, Synta Awaits Melanoma Data, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

1/28/09

There were some interesting M&A developments this past week involving or potentially affecting Massachusetts life sciences firms. Those, and the rest of the week’s news, below.

—Regulus Therapeutics, a joint venture of Cambridge, MA-based Alnylam (NASDAQ: ALNY) and Carlsbad, CA-based Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ISISI), unveiled plans to raise “a very respectable amount” of capital from private investors and reorganize as an independent corporation. The company was formed about a year and a half ago to develop drugs based on microRNA, tiny RNA fragments that affect the behavior of gene networks and which could be useful in treating diabetes, heart failure, and other complex diseases.

—Antiviral drug developer Panacos Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:PANC) of Watertown, MA, sold its HIV drug candidate, bevirimat, to Salt Lake City, UT-based Myriad Pharmaceuticals for $7 million.

—Boston’s Enlight Biosciences added healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) to the roster of partners who back its efforts to advancing new technologies for use in the discovery and development of drugs. J&J agreed to invest up to $13 million in Enlight’s programs.

—Cambridge, MA-based Stromedix won patent protection for its technology for blocking fibrosis, an underlying process in different types of organ failure. The startup acquired the anti-fibrosis technology from Cambridge, MA-based Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB).

—Omni Life Science of Raynham, MA, joined with Enztec of Christchurch, New Zealand, to form a new company, called Orthopaedic Synergy, of which Omni and Enztec will both be wholly owed subsidiaries. The new firm also raised $4.8 million of a Series A financing from Pioneer Capital Partners of Auckland, New Zealand, and its limited partners, and plans to bring the round up to $6 million with an additional contribution from Birnie Capital Partners, also of Auckland, in March.

—New Haven, CT-based antibiotic developer Rib-X Pharmaceuticals raised $25 million in a debt financing from Warburg Pincus, ABS Ventures, Axiom Ventures, EuclidSR Partners, MedImmune Ventures, Oxford Bioscience Partners, SR One, and Vox Equity Partners. Ryan talked with Rib-X CEO Susan Froshauer about the prospects for … Next Page »

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