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

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reviewing the results of the study, they have suspended recruitment and dosing in a separate late-stage trial of the treatment, which is the lead molecule in Tolerx’s pipeline.

—Living Proof, the Cambridge-based maker of beauty products cofounded by famed MIT inventor Bob Langer, raised $16 million in a Series B funding round. The money, from Piper Jaffray Merchant Banking and Polaris Venture Partners, will go toward product distribution and new R&D efforts.

—Ryan profiled the efforts of Edimer Pharmaceuticals to develop a new treatment for patients with the rare genetic disorder X-linked hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia, or XLHED. Backed by Boston’s Third Rock Ventures, Edimer hopes to seek permission to begin initial human trials of a protein-based drug for XLHED in the second half of this year, according to the startup’s CEO, Neil Kirby.

—Gene therapy developer Bluebird Bio of Cambridge forged an agreement with the French Muscular Dystrophy Association (AFM) to develop a treatment for the blood disorders beta-thalassemia and sickle cell anemia. The deal is worth $1.4 million upfront, and entitles Bluebird to as much as $2.8 million worth of manufacturing at Généthon, AFM’s bio-therapy research center, to make material for clinical trials.

—Ryan got a peek at Topera Medical, a secretive startup formed in 2008 around research out of the University of California, San Diego. With a new headquarters in Lexington, MA, and a new CEO (former Boston Scientific executive Edward Kerslake), Topera is aiming to develop a catheter-based system for rapidly identifying the source of irregular heart rhythms in each patient.

—Cambridge-based Ariad Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARIA) exercised its option to co-promote the experimental drug ridaforolimus with its partner Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) for treating soft tissue and bone sarcomas. The move “is consistent with our plans to build a fully integrated commercial oncology company,” said Ariad CEO Harvey Berger in a company press release.

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