Vertex Awaits Results of Hepatitis C Drug Trial, Helicos and Pfizer Cut Jobs, St. Jude Acquires LightLab, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

5/21/10Follow @xconomy

Looks like life sciences companies reclaimed their territory in our headlines this week. We saw news of funding deals, acquisitions, and layoffs, and profiles on drugmakers and device developers.

—Rockland, MA-based BioSphere Medical (NASDAQ: BSMD), which makes bio-engineered microspheres to be injected to cut off the blood supply to tumors, vascular malformations, and uterine fibroids, announced it will be acquired by Merit Medical Systems (NASDAQ: MMSI) for $96 million in cash .

Luke wrote about the gravity surrounding Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ clinical trial for its hepatitis C drug, telaprevir. Vertex (NASDAQ: VRTX) is waiting for results from Phase III of the study, the final stage of testing required before the drug gets approved by the FDA for sale in the U.S. Telaprevir could be a first-in-class protease inhibitor drug, and has shown that it can double the cure rate and cut the standard course of treatment in half for the chronic liver-damaging disease.

—Stemgent, a provider of consumable stem cell research materials that has offices in Cambridge, MA, and San Diego, has raised $5.6 million of a planned $10.1 million equity round, according to an SEC filing.

Cambridge Endoscopic Devices, a Framingham, MA-based maker of laparoscopic instruments for minimally invasive procedures, pulled in $3 million of a $7.5 million round of equity-based funding, a regulatory document showed.

—Cambridge-based genetic analysis technology developer Helicos BioSciences announced cutting 40 jobs, halving its work force in order to reduce operating expenses. Helicos (NASDAQ: HLCS) had $11.3 million in the bank as of March 31, but needs to raise “significant additional capital” before the end of June to fund its operations for another year, it revealed in a quarterly financial statement filed this week.

Pfizer announced it would be cutting 300 manufacturing jobs at its Andover, MA-based site by the end of 2015, as part of a restructuring plan following the drugmaker’s acquisition of Wyeth (NYSE: WYE) last year. The company is … Next Page »

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