Sanofi Bids for Genzyme, ModeRNA Announces Stem Cell Tech, Health IT Execs Debate, & More Boston Area Life Sciences News
It was a lighter life sciences news week, but we did see a new biotech company surface, while a major pharma continued its pursuit of a local biotech giant.
—French drug giant Sanofi-Aventis made another move in its quest to acquire Cambridge, MA-based Genzyme (NASDAQ: GENZ), with a $18.5 billion hostile takeover bid. It was the same price—$69 per share—as an earlier offer from Sanofi that the Genzyme’s board had unanimously rejected.
—Biotech startup ModeRNA Therapeutics, launched out of Cambridge, MA-based Flagship VentureLabs, announced that it has developed technology that uses synthetic RNA to reprogram adult stem cells to function like embryonic stem cells, while avoiding detection by cells’ anti-viral defense systems. ModeRNA, whose technology comes out of Children’s Hospital Boston, has also received an undisclosed amount of funding from Flagship and another unnamed investor.
—Luke introduced readers to some of the cancer-fighting biotech companies we’ll be featuring in our “Xconomy Forum: Boston’s War on Cancer” event later this month. Going beyond chemotherapy and other targeted treatments, speakers will cover how RNA interference, epigenetics, and molecular diagnostics are playing their part. The event will also feature a panel on the process of garnering FDA approval for cancer drugs, moderated by our life sciences columnist Sylvia Pagán Westphal.
—In case you missed it, Ryan wrote a recap of the inaugural Xconomy Xchange, featuring Jonathan Bush, CEO of Watertown, MA-based Athenahealth (NASDAQ: ATHN) and Westborough, MA-based eClinicalWorks CEO Girish Navani. Cambridge Consultants president Pam McNamara moderated as the two executives dished on their firms’ approach to electronic medical records, their respective business models, and what to make of the government’s incentives for physicians to adopt the technology.
—Speaking of health IT, Boston-based mobile app company FitnessKeeper added some features to its run-tracking app to simulate the group workout class experience, says CEO Jason Jacobs. The RunKeeper app is now integrating race training plans designed by running experts and tools for searching for upcoming events and connecting with other RunKeeper users who are planning to run the same race.