Alnylam’s Spinoff Strategy, Genzyme’s Gaucher-Business Future, Adimab’s Antibody Ambitions, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

2/25/09

If you’re a fan or follower of New England’s life sciences industry we’ve got lots for you this week, thanks to some great in-depth reporting by Ryan and Luke.

—Luke gave a fascinating look at the strategy of Cambridge, MA-based Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: [ALNY), a pioneer in the field of RNA interference, or RNAi. Alnylam CEO John Maraganore explained how he has become a fan of spinning off new companies to make the most of technologies related to RNAi after a successful experience of doing just that, in the form of Carlsbad, CA-based Regulus Therapeutics, which Alnylam launched with Carlsbad’s Isis Pharmaceuticals in 2007.

—Luke also got a briefing on the strategy of Cambridge, MA-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: VRTX) from its CFO, Ian Smith. Vertex just announced a secondary offering of stock worth a tidy $320 million.

—Our Xconomist Forum had a visit from Susan Windham Bannister, the president and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, which is overseeing the state’s $1 billion biotech initiative. “Dr. Sue” gave the inside story of last month’s trade mission to the West Coast, which gave her, Governor Deval Patrick, members of his administration, and other emissaries from Massachusetts the chance to schmooze with local VCs, startups, and other industry representatives.

—Ryan took a trip of his own, to visit Lebanon, NH-based Adimab, a startup built around technology for streamlining the process of discovering antibody-based drugs. Adimab CEO Tillman Gerngross told Ryan that the company has no plans to develop its own drugs, and that he believes it can thrive on income from drug-discovery and licensing deals alone.

—Ryan also checked in with one of Adimab’s backers, Hanover and Portsmouth, NH-based Borealis Ventures. The firm was founded in 2001 to take advantage of opportunities to invest in companies coming out of Dartmouth College and other startups off the beaten path of Boston-area venture capitalists.

—Harvard spinoff Genocea Biosciences of Cambridge, MA, raised $23 million in a Series A round of financing led by SR One, the venture arm of … Next Page »

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