PerkinElmer Buys Labtronics, Vertex Rival Merck Partners with Genentech, ThermoFisher Acquires Phadia, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

5/20/11Follow @xconomy

We saw news on both the drugs and medical devices sides of the life sciences industry in New England this week.

—PerkinElmer (NYSE: PKI), a Waltham, MA-based provider of life sciences tools, said it acquired Labtronics, an Ontario, Canada-based provider of electronic laboratory notebook products. Deal terms weren’t disclosed.

—Two-year-old Foundation Medicine of Boston revealed it was collaborating with Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG), which will use Foundation’s genomics testing technology in trials of cancer drugs, in the hopes of identifying patients who are most likely to respond well to the medicines.

—Cambridge, MA-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: VRTX), which is waiting for FDA approval of its hepatitis C treatment telaprevir (Incivek), is facing a strengthened rival in Merck (NYSE: MRK). The Roche unit Genentech is co-promoting the recently approved hepatitis C drug from Merck, boceprevir (Victrelis). Genentech will push boceprevir as part of a three-drug regimen that includes Roche’s pegylated interferon alpha (Pegasys).

—Those interested in discussion on open-source biology should come check out the debate between MIT’s Phil Sharp and Stephen Friend, the former senior VP of cancer research at Merck, at our XSITE conference on June 16.

—My Detroit colleague Tom Lee took a look at shifts in the medical device industry, through the lens of the recent departures of two execs in the space. One of them is Ray Elliott, who abruptly left his CEO position at Natick, MA-based Boston Scientific (NYSE: BSX).

—Needham, MA-based Celldex (NASDAQ: CLDX) raised $31.5 million through a stock offering, to put toward advancing to the third and financial stage of clinical trials. The company sold 10 million shares at $3.15 apiece, roughly a 19 percent discount to Tuesday’s closing stock price of $3.88, before the deal was announced

—Waltham, MA-based lab products and services provider Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE: TMO) said it paid European private equity firm Cinven $3.5 billion in cash to acquire Sweden-based Phadia, a diagnostics company focused on allergies and autoimmune conditions.

—AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN), the U.K.-based drug giant, will lay off 135 employees at its facility in Westborough, MA, starting at the end of May and continuing through the end of 2011, as reported by the Boston Business Journal. The layoffs are part of a larger corporate restructuring that was announced last year and includes some 3,500 job cuts worldwide.

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