Biogen and Dyax Expand Relationship, Nuance Persists in Zi Pursuit, Draper Lab Locks In On $146M From the Navy, & More Boston-Area Deals News

2/6/09

The flow of deals from New England’s tech and life sciences companies was sluggish this week but not completely frozen. Acquisition news predominated.

—Cambridge, MA-based Charles Stark Draper Laboratory won a $146 million contract from the U.S. Navy to work on guidance systems for the Trident II nuclear missile.

—Burlington, MA-based speech technology giant Nuance Communications (NASDAQ: NUAN) gave Calgary, Alberta-based Zi Corporation (NASDAQ: ZICA) until February 13 to respond to its latest takeover offer. The Canadian firm’s board has repeatedly rejected Nuance’s advances, which began last summer.

—Life sciences equipment maker Millipore (NYSE: MIL) of Billerica, MA, inked a deal to acquire Guava Technologies of Hayward, CA, for $22.6 million.

—Needham, MA-based IT technical support provider HiWired agreed to sell its assets for an undisclosed sum to Montreal-based Radialpoint, an IT security and services firm.

—Software maker mValent was picked up for another undisclosed sum by Redwood Shores, CA-based software giant Oracle (NASDAQ:ORCL), which plans to integrate the Waltham, MA-based firm into its Oracle Enterprise Manager business.

—Worcester, MA-based RXi Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:RXII) forged an agreement to sell up to $25 million new shares of its common stock to YA Global Investments over the next two years. The deal calls for the developer of RNAi-based drugs to sell the stock in $500,000 increments at the lowest weighted average price of its shares over five straight trading days, less a 5-percent discount.

—Cambridge, MA-based biotechs Dyax (NASDAQ:DYAX) and Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB) expanded an agreement focused on using Dyax’s “phage display” technology to discover antibody drugs for Biogen. The new deal involves 10 more product licenses for Biogen; Dyax gets a $5 million payment upfront, research funding, and up to $85 million in milestone fees, as well as royalties for each drug that Biogen commercializes under the arrangement.

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