Biogen Confirms Cambridge Move, Amag Merges With Allos, ACT Kicks Off Trials, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

7/22/11Follow @xconomy

New England drug developers made headlines this week by kicking off drug trials, relocating offices, and merging.

—Xconomy national biotech editor Luke Timmerman profiled Cambridge, MA-based Ensemble Therapeutics, which is working to synthesize a class of mid-sized molecules known as macrocycles that are supposed to combine the best properties of both small-molecule and large-molecule drugs.

—Inotek Pharmaceuticals, a Lexington, MA-based firm developing treatments for diseases of the eye, added another $9.3 million to its latest funding round, bringing it up to $23.6 million.

—I caught up with the founders of Beverly, MA-based health IT firm Eliza weeks after they took in their first-ever external financing, from Parthenon Capital partners. Eliza plans to explore additional ways its speech recognition software can capture information on patient lifestyles and push them to make healthier decisions.

—Xconomy New York editor Arlene Weintraub spoke with Robert Lanza, chief scientific officer of Marlborough, MA-based Advanced Cell Technology, just days after the developer of human embryonic stem cell treatments had started its first human trials. ACT has FDA clearance to test its cells in two separate trials of blinding eye disease, Stargardt’s macular dystrophy and dry age-related macular degeneration.

—The Boston Globe reported that Biogen Idec will be moving its 530-employee headquarters from Weston, MA, to Cambridge’s Kendall Square. Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB) CEO George Scangos told Luke earlier this summer that he was looking to combine the biotech’s commercial and R&D operations in Cambridge.

—Lexington-based Amag Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AMAG) announced its plans to merge with Allos Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ALTHin a $686 million all-stock deal. Both companies, each of which have one product on the market, saw their stocks drop the day it the deal was announced.

-Coronado Biosciences of New York has some big plans in the offing, Arlene wrote. It plans to test one of its therapies—made of the eggs from a parasite found in pigs—in patients suffering from Crohn’s disease, will also relocate to Boston in August, and is aiming to go public.

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