Rib-X Inks Sanofi Deal, Zafgen Gets $33M Series C, Allegro Adds $5.4M, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

7/8/11Follow @xconomy

New England biotechs and devices firms have been active in nabbing partnerships, landing investments, and progressing with clinical programs this week.

—Syndax Pharmaceuticals, an epigenetics startup out of Waltham, MA, revealed three sets of data on its lung cancer drug at the Study of Lung Cancer conference this week. The drug, entinostat, is in Phase 2 clinical testing, and acts against certain enzymes that influence specific epigenetic alterations that drive cancer growth and drug tolerance. Syndax aims to combine the drug with other cancer drugs to treat tumors that haven’t responded to other therapies.

—Xconomy national biotech editor Luke Timmerman caught up with Alkermes CEO Richard Pops about his plans to turn the Waltham, MA-based company into a biotech powerhouse. Alkermes (NASDAQ: ALKS), Luke wrote, has seen its stock climb about 30 percent since it announced its plans in May to buy Elan Drug Technologies for $960 million.

Rib-X Pharmaceuticals could pocket about $772 million through a research and licensing agreement it inked with Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) surrounding Rib-X’s RX-04 program for the treatment of resistant Gram-negative and resistant Gram-positive infections. Sanofi payed $10 million upfront, with another potential $9 million to come in research milestones. Each product selected through the program could earn Rib-X up to $186 million in a mix of development, regulatory, and commercial milestones.

—Cambridge, MA-based obesity drug developer Zafgen nabbed a $33 million Series C financing led by existing investors such as Third Rock Ventures and Atlas Venture, to put toward advancing its lead drug candidate through Phase 2 clinical trials. The deal doubles Zafgen’s funding pot to $66 million.

—Maynard, MA-based Allegro Diagnostics, which is developing a platform for the early detection of lung cancer, said that it added another $5.4 million in Series A extension financing, from existing investors Kodiak Venture Partners and Catalyst Health Ventures

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