Alkermes Anti-Addiction Drug Fares Well in Clinical Trials, Amgen Takes Aim at Drug-Development Success Rate, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

10/14/09

It’s been a short week and a long weekend since last I rounded up New England’s life sciences news, but there were still a few stories worth mentioning.

—Luke took an in-depth look at giant Amgen’s (NASDAQ: AMGN) efforts to boost its rate of success in getting new drugs to market. Though Amgen is based in Thousand Oaks, its 200-person-strong outpost in Cambridge, MA, plays an important role in its R&D operation.

—Ernst & Young released a sweeping analysis of the medical device industry that indicated that it’s a challenging time for device firms, particularly the smaller players that develop many of the new technologies the industry depends on for growth. Fundraising was down 53 percent among U.S. device companies, M&A activity was down by 41 percent, and the IPO market was flat-lining, according to the report.

—In contrast, our friends at ChubbyBrain sent us the data on September startup funding and the news for life sciences as a whole was fairly rosy. That sector accounted for $98.8 million of the $228 million total raised by Massachusetts companies that month.

—Cambridge-based Alkermes (NASDAQ: ALKS) reported that its anti-addiction drug, ALKS 33, was well-tolerated and able to block the effects of the powerful opioid painkiller remifentanil (Ultiva) long enough to enable once-daily dosing. Based on those results, from a pair of early-stage clinical trials, Alkermes is preparing for a mid-stage clinical trial of the drug, to start before the end of this year.

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