Infinity Halts Trial of Lead Cancer Drug, Tysabri Sales Short of Projections, Myomo Slashes Staff, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

4/22/09

It’s not all bad news this week for New England’s life sciences firms (my headline notwithstanding), but there certainly were a few somber notes.

—Infinity Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INFI) of Cambridge, MA, halted a late-stage trial of its lead cancer drug among patients with relapsed forms of malignant stomach tumors after interim results showed that more patients taking the drug were dying, compared to those who were not taking the drug. Infinity is still testing the drug, retaspimycin (or IPI-504), in separate trials among patients with non-small cell lung cancer, metastatic breast cancer, and advanced solid tumors, and will decide if any changes are needed in those studies.

—Waltham, MA-based Synageva BioPharma raised $30 million in a private equity financing led by Baker Brothers Investments and joined by Tullis Dickerson and Four Partners. Synageva plans to raise still more money in the weeks to come to support development of both novel and generic protein drugs.

—The FDA granted Cambridge, MA-based Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB) approval for a high-yield process for making the drug natalizumab (Tysabri), which is approved for multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease. But sales of the drug in the first quarter fell short of analyst’s predictions, generating $227 million worldwide rather than the predicted $246 million. The drug is now being taken by about 40,000 patients, an increase of about 3,000 over the previous quarter.

—Clarus Ventures of Cambridge, MA, helped lead a $10 million Series A round of financing for Ann Arbor, MI-based Lycera, a developer of … Next Page »

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