Celgene Pumps Up Acceleron, On-Q-ity CEO Goes to Roche Unit, MSMB Eyes Amag, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

8/5/11Follow @xconomy

We caught some personnel updates and other news from public and private New England companies developing drugs, medical devices, and diagnostics technology.

—Woburn, MA-based Pathogenetix, the diagnostics and biodefense company formerly known as U.S. Genomics, raised $4 million of a targeted $9.5 million equity financing.

—Beacon Endoscopic, a Newton, MA-based startup that’s developed a fine needle aspiration system for endoscopic ultrasound and endoscopic bronchial ultrasound, inked a $5 million Series B financing from MVM Life Science Partners and took in new money from its existing angel investors.

Knome, a Cambridge, MA-based company focused on providing personal genome sequencing services, reported in an SEC filing that it has raised $5 million of a funding round that could hit $20 million. The startup was founded by Harvard geneticist George Church in 2007.

—Mara Aspinall left her post as CEO of On-Q-ity, the Waltham, MA-based cancer diagnostics startup. She’s now the president of another business focused on cancer diagnostics: Ventana Medical Systems, an Arizona-based division of healthcare giant Roche. No word yet on who will succeed Aspinall as CEO of On-Q-ity. She’s still listed on the website as founder and director.

—Cambridge-based Acceleron Pharma expanded an anemia research partnership it has had with biotech Celgene (NASDAQ: CELG) since 2008. Celgene will pay $25 million upfront to Acceleron and could pay up to $217 million more in milestone payments and double-digit royalties, as part of a new joint development and commercialization deal for ACE-536, a compound that treats anemia.

—New York hedge fund MSMB Capital Management is attempting to thwart a proposed merger between Lexington, MA-based Amag Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AMAG) and Allos Therapeutics (NASDAQ: ALTH), with an unsolicited bid to acquire Amag for $18 per share. The MSMB offer represents a 25 percent premium on Amag’s closing stock price the day before. Wall Street had reacted negatively when the $686 million merger with Allos was first announced.

—My colleague Greg wrote about Boston biotechie Stéphane Bancel, who up until last month was CEO of bioMérieux, the France-based microbiology and diagnostics firm. Read about Bancel’s thoughts on diagnostics and his work with BG Medicine, Knome, and ModeRNA here.

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