Biogen Names CEO, Glaser Leaves Partners, SV Closes $523M Fund, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

7/2/10Follow @xconomy

We’ve seen some big executive moves, funding announcements, and strategy updates at New England area life sciences firms this week.

—A blog post revealed Partners HealthCare chief information officer John Glaser would be living his role to become CEO of the hospital software division of Siemens, who confirmed the report later Monday afternoon. The news comes less than a week after Ryan chronicled his interview with Glaser. Glaser will be taking the position previously held by Janet Dillione, who left Siemens to head up Burlington, MA-based Nuance’s healthcare software unit.

—Ryan wrote about Tesaro, a Waltham, MA-based company out to buy cancer therapies still in development and bring them to market, which scored a $20 million Series A venture round in May. The cash comes from the company’s founders and New Enterprise Associates, whose general partner David Mott was formerly CEO of MedImmune, a firm purchased by AstraZeneca for $15.6 billion three years ago.

—Cambridge, MA-based BIND Biosciences raised $12.4 million in Series C funding, which included backing from Endeavour Vision. Arch Venture Partners, DHK Investments, Flagship Ventures, NanoDimension, and Polaris Venture Partners returned for the third round for BIND. The company is making treatments using drug-carrying nanoparticles whose outer surfaces are studded with molecules that target specific cells in the body. The newest cash will go to a Phase 1 clinical trial for BIND’s nanoparticle drug for treating solid tumors, which is loaded with a chemotherapy drug called docetaxel.

—Boston venture firm SV Life Sciences announced it had raised $523 million for its Fund V, which will target companies in the therapeutics, medical devices, diagnostics, healthcare services, and health IT spaces. The SV fund is the second-largest healthcare-focused fund to close in 2010, following OrbiMed Advisors’ $550 million fund, and will makes investments between of $5 million and $35 million.

—Ryan wrote about how Keas, a San Francisco startup with Boston roots, has revamped its business plan to bring in more cash. Boston-area tech veteran George Kassabgi and former Google Health head Adam Bosworth founded Keas, whose interactive online software enables healthcare experts to design plans for helping consumers meet certain health goals. Originally Keas planned to offer these in a marketplace similar to the iPhone App Store, but the company is now out to sell the care plans to employers as a way to reduce employee healthcare costs and to pharmaceutical companies, who could, for instance, use the service to remind patients to take their meds.

—Watertown, MA-based Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, a developer of RNA-interference drugs, pulled in $5 million in an offering of debt and options. Doug Fambrough left his post as general partner at Oxford Bioscience Partners last month to become CEO of Dicerna, which previously raised $21.4 million in Series A funding from Abingworth Management, Oxford, and Skyline Ventures.

—Cambridge-based Biogen Idec filled its open CEO slot with George Scangos, who has led South San Francisco-based cancer drug developer Exelixis (NASDAQ: EXEL) since 1996. (Bloomberg News first reported the company’s impending CEO announcement on Wednesday.) The chief executive position at Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB) has been vacant since James Mullen concluded his ten-year role at the company on June 8. In a call with analysts on Wednesday, Scangos (who starts on July 15) revealed his ambitions for improving the productivity of the research and development engine at Biogen, which hasn’t brought a product to market since 2004.

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