New England Firms Poised for Biogeneric Future, Tobin Bids Boston Scientific Adieu, Biogen Idec Reports Tenth PML Case, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

7/1/09

Ryan and Luke did a couple of great in-depth stories this week—on the burgeoning business of biogenerics and on a young company out to take on the big boys of cancer with a new mouse model for the disease.

—Ryan took a look at the Boston-area biotech companies that are poised to become key players in the nascent field of biogenerics (aka biosimilars, follow-on biologics, or copycat biotech drugs). Cambridge, MA-based biotech powerhouse Biogen Idec (NASDAQ:BIIB), for instance, has established a Swiss subsidiary called Eidetica Biopharma to get in on the action, while Merck & Co.’s Lebanon, NH-based GlycoFi unit offers technology that could help overcome some of the technical challenges of making copies of biotech drugs. And Cambridge-based Momenta Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:MNTA) and Waltham, MA-based Synageva BioPharma are both working on a mix of novel and biogeneric drugs.

—Natick, MA-based Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX) announced that its longtime president and CEO, Jim Tobin, is retiring. Ray Elliott, previously the chairman, president, and CEO of Warsaw, IN-based Zimmer Holdings (NYSE: ZMH), will take the helm of Boston Scientific.

—Luke got an update from Aveo Pharmaceuticals CEO Tuan Ha-Ngoc about his Cambridge, MA-based company’s progress in turning a novel mouse model for cancer into a thriving, sustainable company. Aveo’s lead drug candidate, a treatment for kidney cancer, produced promising results in a clinical trial unveiled in May.

—A tenth patient taking Cambridge, MA-based Biogen Idec’s (NASDAQ:BIIB) Tysabri has contracted the rare brain infection PML. Tysabri is approved for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease.

IntelligentMDx raised $3 million from a group of unnamed, non-venture investors, bringing the total raised by the Cambridge, MA-based startup to $26.5 million. IntelligentMDx is developing DNA- and RNA-based medical tests.

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