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EnVivo, Biogen, Momenta, & Other Boston-Area Life Sciences Newsmakers

Xconomy Boston — 

Drugs, conglomerates, medical nutrition companies, and biotechs dominated the New England life sciences news this week.

EnVivo Pharmaceuticals of Watertown, MA, said its experimental schizophrenia drug EVP-6124 demonstrated statistically significant improvements in patient cognitive function in a Phase 2b study. Patients also demonstrated improvements in what are known as negative schizophrenia symptoms, such as inability to experience pleasure and to carry on normal social interactions.

—Weston, MA-based Biogen Idec is forming a $300 million joint venture with the Korea-based conglomerate Samsung to develop biosimilars, which are low-cost versions of biotech drugs that are losing their patents. Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB) will get a 15 percent stake in the operation for the $45 million it’s putting in, and Samsung is fronting $255 million.

—Cambridge, MA-based Momenta Pharmaceuticals bought the assets of Virdante Pharmaceuticals, a nearby biotech that raised $30 million in venture capital and is apparently winding down its operations. Virdante was developing technology for increasing the anti-inflammatory properties of antibodies. Momenta (NASDAQ: MNTA) paid $4.5 million for the assets, with potentially $51.5 million more to come in milestones, and plans to plug the technology into its discovery platform.

—I profiled Cambrooke Foods, an Ayer, MA-based maker of low-protein foods and metabolic formulas for patients with conditions such as phenylketonuria (PKU), which can be treated with proper diet. Read here about the company’s founders, growth, and latest products.