Flexion Pulls in $33M, Cubist Teams With Hydra, Charles River Makes Cuts, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

10/21/09

There was a steady serenade of news from New England’s life sciences companies this past week, with both the startups and the public firms chiming in.

—Ryan profiled Boston BioCom, a Pfizer-backed startup aiming to commercialize life science discoveries from Russia. Based in, of course, Boston, the firm is also developing technology from the Massachusetts General Hospital lab of its chief scientific officer, Jeffrey Gelfand.

—Woburn, MA-based Flexion Therapeutics raised $33 million in a Series A financing led by Versant Ventures. 5AM Ventures and Sofinnova Partners joined in backing the company, which is out to reduce the time and expense required to take drugs from the earliest stages of development into initial clinical trials.

—Charles River Laboratories (NYSE: CRL) reportedly cut 115 positions at its Quebec-based subsidiary CTBR Bio-Research. Headquartered in Wilmington, MA, Charles River cut roughly 3 percent of its global workforce back in February.

Jens Eckstein, a general partner in TVM Capital’s life sciences practice, went to Tokyo and came back with a message for the Boston life sciences community: “We should cherish what we have and work hard to keep things intact and healthy.”

—Lexington, MA-based Cubist Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: CBST) teamed up with Cambridge, MA-based Hydra Biosciences to develop new pain medications. Cubist will pay Hydra $5 million upfront, and provide $5 million in R&D funding annually for two years.

Augmenix of Waltham, MA, raised $6.1 million in a Series B financing round to support the development of its technology for reducing tissue damage during radiation treatment. Ascension Health Ventures led the round; Versant Ventures, Pinnacle Ventures, Catalyst Health Ventures, and several private investors participated as well.

—Drug developer Synageva BioPharma, also of Waltham, raised $12 million, completing a $45 million round of financing. New Leaf Venture Partners, a new investor, and return investors contributed to the round.

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