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

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.