Alnylam Settles One Lawsuit, Hit With Another; Living Proof Raises $16M, Tolerx/GSK Drug Fails to Meet Goal, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

3/18/11

New England’s biotech attorneys must be working overtime, if the week’s headlines are any indication.

—Cambridge, MA-based Alnylam (NASDAQ:ALNY) announced it had settled a long-standing legal dispute over the so-called Tuschl I and Tuschl II patent families. The suit, which involved key players in the field of RNA-interference including Alnylam, Max Planck Society, the University of Massachusetts, and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, began in June of 2009 and was slated to go to trial this month.

—No sooner did Alnylam wrap up that litigation than it was hit with a huge lawsuit from its Vancouver, BC-based partner Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, which is accusing Alnylam of misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, and more—and is seeking damages of more than $1 billion. The suit centers on technology for delivering RNAi therapeutics—a notorious challenge in the field. For its part, Alnylam called Tekmira’s complaint “without merit or foundation,” and said it intends to defend itself fully.

—Elsewhere in Cambridge, Genzyme (NASDAQ:GENZ) faced a lawsuit as well. It and Mt. Sinai Medical School are being sued by six patients with Fabry disease over the handling of a rationing system for agalsidase beta (Fabrazyme), Genzyme’s treatment for Fabry. Supplies of the drug were short following a temporary closure in 2009 of the company’s Allston, MA, plant.

—In non-legal news, Cambridge based Tolerx and its partner GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) reported that otelixizumab, their experimental drug for Type 1 diabetes, failed to meet its main clinical goal in a late-stage study called Defend-1. While the companies are … Next Page »

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