Biogen Gets Euro Approval, BSX Shows Solid Q2, Alkermes Tries Again, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

7/29/11Follow @xconomy

We saw several headlines surrounding clinical development by New England-area drugmakers this week.

—Weston, MA-based Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) said that it nabbed a conditional approval from the European Commission to market a long-acting version of fampridine (Fampyra) to adult patients with multiple sclerosis who have walking disability. The agency has also asked Biogen to commission a study exploring the benefits, beyond improved walking speed, of the therapy—which Biogen said it had planned to do post-marketing.

—Xconomy East Coast biotechnology editor Arlene Weintraub wrote about how Watertown, MA-based EnVivo Pharmaceuticals is charging ahead with development of its Alzheimers drug—despite negative data reported by Eli Lilly in a drug trial of its own similar compound. EnVivo began Phase 1 testing on June 1 of its compound, EVP-0962, which reduced brain inflammation caused by Alzheimer’s, reversed behavioral defects, and appeared to have a better safety profile than gamma secretase inhibitors (which the Lilly drug is), during animal trials.

—Also perserverent, Cerulean Pharmaceuticals of Cambridge, MA, is pushing ahead with its nanotechnology for drug delivery. The company began a trial this month of its cancer nanoparticle drug and is also continuing development of its technology for the field of RNA interference—which has struggled to realize its potential in the form of successful drugs.

—Natick, MA-based Boston Scientific (NASDAQ: BSX) announced second-quarter sales of nearly $2 billion and earnings of $.17 per share—beating Wall Street predictions by about a dime. The medical devices firm also announced plans to repurchase $1 billion of its common shares and (the day before its earnings announcement) revealed that it will be investing $150 million over five years in a manufacturing facility in China and will be upping its employee head count in the country.

—San Diego-based Amylin Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AMLN) and Waltham, MA-based Alkermes (NASDAQ: ALKS) resubmitted their application for the FDA’s approval to market their drug exenatide once-weekly (Bydureon) as a new treatment for diabetes in the U.S. The FDA, which had previously asked the two biotechs to submit data indicating the drug doesn’t have an effect on abnormal heart rhythms known as the QT interval, will have about six months to review the application.

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