Aria Shows Drug Data at ASCO, Pfizer Supports Selecta, WPI Adds Big Pharma Partners, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

6/10/11Follow @xconomy

Massachusetts drug developers and research institutions have nabbed funding, inked partnerships, and revealed clinical data this week.

Constellation Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge, MA-based developer of epigenetic drugs, grabbed another $15 million in extensions to its Series B financing, bringing the funding round’s total to $37 million. The money comes from returning investors Third Rock Ventures, The Column Group, Venrock Associates, SR One, and Altitude Life Science Ventures.

—Cambridge-based Ariad Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARIA) and Merck revealed positive results from the Phase 3 study of their sarcoma drug ridaforolimus, at the conference of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) on Monday. The risk of progression or death in patients treated with ridaforolimus was reduced by 28 percent compared to the placebo group. Merck plans to file for approval of the drug in the U.S. and in Europe later this year.

Concord, MA-based PolyRemedy brought in $20 million in Series C financing—from new investor Delphi Ventures and previous backers MedVenture Associates, Advanced Technology Ventures, and Flybridge Capital Partners—to put toward its customized wound dressing system. Home-based nurses can log on to the company’s Web application, input data on a patient’s wound, and PolyRemedy will ship dressings with the appropriate medicine, moisture level, and other factors tailored to their treatment.

—Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) announced it was kicking off a five-year research partnerships with a slew of Boston organizations: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston University School of Medicine, Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard University, Partners HealthCare, Tufts Medical Center, Tufts University, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. The$100 million program will be headquartered at the Center for Life Science in the Longwood Medical Area.

—The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) announced it was providing Selecta Biosciences of Watertown, MA, with funding and research support under its Industry Discovery and Development Partnership. Financial details weren’t disclosed. Selecta, a vaccine developer, will get financial support from JDRF based on research milestones it hits as it applies its technology to Type 1 diabetes, which occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute said that Abbott Laboratories, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Shire Human Genetic Therapies have joined as inaugural partners for its Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center. The facility is currently being built and is designed to support scientists researching compounds and developing drugs using live engineered cells.

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