Biogen CEO Retires, Genzyme Board Nominates Amgen Vet and Strikes Deal with Icahn, Xconomy Spotlights Life Sciences XSITE Speakers, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

6/11/10Follow @xconomy

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Fenton and Icahn’s picks, Steven Burakoff and Eric Ende, will come after the annual meeting and will swell the company’s board from 10 to 13.

James Mullen retired from his 10-year post as CEO of Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB), which hasn’t yet named a successor. In the meantime, top executives at Cambridge, MA-based Biogen, which also has a big presence in San Diego and is the world’s largest maker of multiple sclerosis drugs, will report to chairman William Young, who talked to Xconomy in the winter about the company’s search for a new chief executive.

—Waltham, MA-based Syndax Pharmaceuticals revealed in a 26-patient clinical trial that its drug could better enable hormone therapies to kill breast cancer cells. The company, which was founded by scientists from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA, and has raised $49 million in venture capital, aims to treat cancer by targeting tumor cells that epigenetic switches have made resistant to hormone therapies.

Healthrageous wrapped up $6 million in Series A money to target the everyday behaviors that are making people unhealthy, through software designed to give them personalized medical advice. The startup, previously named HopSkipConnect, currently operates out of the Waltham office of North Bridge Venture Partners, the lead investor for its first round, and is out to design health programs for customers such as self-insured companies and disease-management firms.

Our life sciences columnist Sylvia Pagàn Westphal took a look at how genomics is playing a behind-the-scenes role in drug development. About a decade ago, genomics was seen as a field that would revolutionize medicine, but hasn’t yet turned out to be a blockbuster as predicted. Sylvia talked about the strides made in the field since the FDA established a program in 2004 that allows companies to voluntarily submit genomic data, to enable discussions on how the information can be used in approval for drugs and diagnostic tests.

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