New Execs for Exact, Sirtris, and Ischemix; New Deal for Biogen and Aveo; New Money for MedAptus and Claros; & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

3/25/09

The executive suites of several New England’s biotech and medical device companies saw new faces this week.

—Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems (OTC:CYKN), a Foxborough, MA-based developer of devices to treat and aid patients with spinal injuries, revealed to the Boston Globe that it is shutting down. Earlier this year Cyberkinetics sold the rights to its Andara Oscillating Field Stimulator to Waltham, MA-based NeuroMetrix for $350,000.

—The board of diagnostics maker Exact Sciences (NASDAQ:EXAS) replaced the Marlborough, MA-based firm’s CEO and CFO with veterans of another diagnostics firm. Kevin Conroy, Exact’s new chief executive, and Maneesh Arora, its new CFO, previously held those roles at Madison, WI-based Third Wave Technologies, which was acquired last year by Bedford, MA-based Hologic (NASDAQ:HOLX) for $582 million.

—Boston-based MedAptus raised $6 million to support the expansion of its medical-billing-software business. Previous investor Boston Millennia Partners led the deal.

—Former Wyeth executive George Vlasuk was named president and head of Sirtris, a Cambridge, MA, unit of British drug behemoth GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK). Vlasuk will head Sirtris’ efforts to develop treatments for Type 2 diabetes and other diseases of aging.

—Natick, MA-based Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX) settled a lawsuit filed against it by Bruce Saffran, a doctor who alleged that two of Boston Scientific’s stent products infringed on patents he owns. As a result of the settlement, the Natick device maker will record a pre-tax charge to earnings of $50 million this quarter.

Claros Diagnostics reportedly raised $4 million in a second round of financing. Previous investors in Woburn, MA-based Claros, which is developing point-of-care diagnostic tests for prostate cancer and other ailments, include Oxford Bioscience Partners, Bioventures Investors, Accelerated Technologies Partners, and Commons Capital.

—Two Cambridge, MA-based biotechs, Aveo Pharmaceuticals and Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB), both based in Cambridge, MA, inked a development deal around Aveo’s effort to discover antibody drugs targeting ErbB3, a cellular receptor found in abundance on several types of cancer cells. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Robert “Duffy” DuFresne was appointed as CEO of Ischemix, a developer of drugs for preventing tissue damage after heart attacks and other cardiac events. The Maynard, MA-based firm expects to begin mid-stage trials of its lead drug by the middle of this year.

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