Federal Judge Rules in Biogen Idec’s Favor, Sepracor Agrees to $2.8B Buyout, FDA Panel Endorses Gloucester Pharma Drug, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

9/11/09

The buyout of Sepracor was probably the biggest piece of New England life sciences news this past week, but it certainly wasn’t the only one.

—Cambridge, MA-based Quanterix named David Okrongly its new CEO. Founding CEO Nicholas Naclerio will continue to server as chairman of the company, which is developing single-molecule analysis tools for diagnosing cancer and other diseases. Quanterix has its roots in the Tufts University chemistry lab of David Walt, the co-founder of Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN).

—An FDA panel recommended that the agency approve romidepsin, a drug developed by Cambridge-based Gloucester Pharmaceuticals, as a treatment for a rare form of lymphoma. The agency has until November 12 to decide whether to clear the drug.

—Ryan had a fascinating chat with Richard Gliklich, CEO of Outcome Sciences, about his Cambridge-based firm’s efforts to track the real-world safety and effectiveness of drugs and other medical technologies. Gliklich also talked about how the company, a Harvard spinoff, is benefitting from the focus on such data spurred by the stimulus package pushed by President Obama.

Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE: TMO) of Waltham, MA, acquired German diagnostics maker B.R.A.H.M.S. for €330 million (US $470 million).

—Marlborough, MA-based drugmaker Sepracor (NASDAQ:SEPR) said yes to a $2.6 billion buyout offer from Japanese drug firm Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma; the deal is slated to proceed via a tender offer to begin no later than September 15.

—Ryan profiled Cambridge-based Daktari Diagnostics, which just scored $2.8 million in Series A financing to support the development of cheap, portable technology for performing blood tests for HIV patients. The technology, based on work from Massachusetts General Hospital and Purdue University, could dramatically improve the treatment of HIV in places like remote African villages where standard lab techniques are impractical.

—A federal judge ruled that Irish drugmaker Elan breached its multiple sclerosis drug agreement with Cambridge-based Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) by proposing a deal with Johnson & Johnson that would have given J&J an option to acquire Biogen’s stake in the drug, natalizumab (Tysabri), if some other company acquires Biogen.

—In other Biogen news, Redwood City, CA-based Facet Biotech (NASDAQ: FACT), rejected the Massachusetts firm’s $355 million hostile takeover bid.

—Bedford, MA-based Spire sold off its dialysis catheter business to Bard Access Systems for $15 million. Following the sale’s completion, Spire will focus exclusively on photovoltaics manufacturing.

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