Infinity, Idera, Civitas, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences Headlines

12/2/11Follow @xconomy

Medical device makers, drug developers, charity foundations, and health IT startups rounded out the New England life sciences news pot this week.

—Cambridge, MA-based MedicalRecords.com is raising $500,000 to put toward the development of its website, which connects sellers of electronic medical records software with doctors looking to adopt the technology.

—Rib-X Pharmaceuticals, a New Haven, CT-based antibiotics developer with two drugs in clinical trials, filed documents with the SEC indicating its intent to go public. The company, founded in 2000, has developed a drug-discovery platform based around an atomic, three-dimensional picture of the interactions between the antibiotics and the bacteria they target.

—The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research awarded grant money to Chelsea, MA-based Civitas Therapeutics, a startup working to improve the standard treatment for Parkinson’s disease. Patients usually take the drug, levodopa (L-dopa), in pill form, but Civitas is developing a version that they could inhale to get quicker, more precise doses of the medication. The company, spun out by the Waltham, MA, biotech Alkermes (NASDAQ: ALKS) will test the inhalable drug in a pair of clinical trials over the next year.

Mundipharma will provide $50 million to Cambridge-based Infinity Pharmaceuticals in 2013 to support the development of Infinity (NASDAQ: INFI) drug candidates, like IPI-145, a molecule that’s being designed to treat blood cancers and inflammatory conditions. Infinity and Mundipharma first inked a collaboration deal in 2008, in which Mundipharma and its Stamford, CT-based affiliate Purdue Pharma, the maker of the drug oxycodone (Oxycontin), said they would pay $75 million to Infinity to access the company’s research and development capabilities.

—Cambridge-based Idera Pharmaceuticals regained the rights to a cancer drug it was previously co-developing with Merck KGaA, until the German drugmaker cancelled the collaboration this past July. Merck will continue an ongoing clinical trial of the drug, IMO-2055, in combination with Eli Lilly’s cetuximab (Erbitux) in 104 patients with a form of head and neck cancer, and Idera will reimburse the company for about 1.8 million Euros in expenses associated with the trial across 12 months. Idera (NASDAQ: IDRA) will own the data from that trial and other clinical studies Merck helped conduct and finance.

—A bioreactor made by Holliston, MA-based Harvard Bioscience was recently used in the world’s first two synthetic trachea implantations. Harvard’s InBreath Bioreactor helped create the tracheas by using the patients’ own stem cells. The company (NASDAQ: HBIO) has been around for 110 years as a maker of scientific instruments such as pumps and glassware for drug research, but it’s expanding its presence in the regenerative medicine field.

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