Biogen Idec Board in Flux, Cubist Acquires Calixa, ImmunoGen Drug Passes Clinical Test, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

12/16/09

Gadzooks, was this a busy news week for the biotech, devices, and healthcare IT sectors in New England. Here’s the lightning round version:

—Luke examined Cambridge, MA-based Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB)’s efforts to create antibody drugs that can hit two targets at once.

—Cambridge-based Parasol Therapeutics, an MIT spinoff developing treatments and diagnostics for influenza and other viruses, raised $3.2 million in debt and equity financing.

—The nonprofit firm Diagnostics for All named a new CEO: Una Ryan. the former CEO of Needham, MA-based Avant Immunotherapeutics (now Celldex Therapeutics).

—Israel-based Protalix Biotherapeutics applied for FDA approval of its drug, taliglucerase alfa, which would compete with imiglucerase (Cerezyme) from Cambridge-based Genzyme (NASDAQ:GENZ).

—Ryan got an update on Newton, MA-based LifeImage, which expects to raise more than $2.1 million in a second round of financing to further commercialization of its system for sharing medical images online.

—Luke toured the Cambridge labs of Acceleron Pharma, which is developing genetically engineered drugs to treat anemia, bone loss, and other conditions, and got a download on the company’s non-virtual business strategy.

—Waltham, MA-based MC10, a developer of stretchable silicon technology, raised $5.7 million in a new round of financing.

—Fina Technologies, a Cambridge-based spinoff of Gene Network Sciences, raised $4.5 million in a Series A round of venture capital led by Reed Elsevier Ventures and joined by Excel Venture Management.

Biogen Idec announced the planned departure of two members of its board of directors, including the board’s chair, Bruce Ross. The open board slots could prove to be the subject of a another proxy fight between Biogen and billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

—Medical device behemoth Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX) of Natick raised $2 billion in a debt financing.

—Waltham-based ImmunoGen (NASDAQ: IMGN) reported that the “smart bomb” drug for breast cancer it’s developing with partner Genentech has passed an important clinical trial; the results for the drug, T-DM1, may be good enough to allow Genentech to file for FDA approval.

Luke talked with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals CEO John Maraganore about a treatment his company is developing for the rare disorder TTR amyloidosis.

—-Cubist Pharmaceuticals of Lexington, MA, agreed to acquire San Diego-based Calixa Therapeutics for $92.5 million upfront and up to $310 million more in potential payments.

—Waltham-based cancer diagnostics firm On-Q-ity picked up an additional $5 million for its Series A venture round from new investor Atlas Venture.

—Caliper Life Sciences (NASDAQ:CALP), a provider of research products and services in Hopkinton, MA, sold its small animal services business, Xenogen Biosciences (XenBio), to Hudson, NY-based Taconic Farms for about $11 million.

Ryan chatted with Sylvie Gregoire, president of Lexington-based Shire Human Genetic Therapies, about how her firm, a division of UK drug giant Shire, has made inroads in the U.S. markets for Fairy and Gaucher’s diseases in the wake of Genzyme’s supply problems with drugs for those diseases.

Biogen Idec declared its willingness to wage a proxy battle for control of the board of Facet Biotech (NASDAQ:FACT), the Redwood City, CA-based company that has been resisting Biogen’s takeover efforts.

—Newton-based PatientKeeper, a maker electronic medical record software, raised $13 million in debt and equity funds from a group including previous backers Flybridge Capital Partners, New Enterprise Associates, and Whitney & Company.

By posting a comment, you agree to our terms and conditions.