Deux Deals for Dyax, Au Revoir for Vertex’s Boger, Grande Alliance for Idenix and GSK, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

2/11/09

This week’s life sciences news was dominated by New England’s public companies—starting with three developments from Dyax.

—Last Wednesday, an FDA advisory committee voted by a margin of just 6-5 to recommend approval of ecallantide from Cambridge, MA-based Dyax (NASDAQ:DYAX). The drug, a treatment for the rare blood disease hereditary angioedema, is the lead drug candidate in Dyax’s pipeline.

–The next day, Dyax and its Cambridge neighbor Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB) announced that they’ve expanded a previous deal under which Dyax has discovered antibody drugs for Biogen. The new agreement, under which Biogen is entitled to 10 additional product licenses, includes a $5 million up-front payment to Dyax, research funding, up to $85 million in milestone fees, and royalties for each drug that Biogen brings to market through the partnership.

—And the day after that, Dyax announced it had inked an exclusive license deal with French drug firm Fovea Pharmaceuticals to develop a version of ecallantide for eye diseases.

—Worcester, MA-based RNAi-drug developer RXi Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:RXII) agreed to sell up to $25 million of its common stock to YA Global Investments over the next two years, in increments worth up to $500,000.

—Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: VRTX) of Cambridge, MA, announced a changing of the guard: founder, president, and CEO Josh Boger will retire on May 23, to be replaced by Vertex director Matthew Emmens, who will become president, CEO, and chairman of the board. Boger expressed his confidence in Emmens’ ability “to take the reins and guide Vertex as we bring our innovations to patients.”

—Cambridge, MA-based Idenix Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IDIX) forged a deal granting pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline worldwide rights to its HIV drug IDX899. GSK will pay … Next Page »

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