Millennium, Metamark, Amgen, & More Boston Life Sciences Headlines

12/23/11Follow @xconomy

Big drug collaborations and acquisitions took the spotlight in the New England life sciences news pool this week.

—Coronado Biosciences, which moved from New York to Burlington, MA, this past August, debuted on the Nasdaq stock exchange, with an opening share price of $6.50 on Monday. The company (NASDAQ: CNDO) went public not through a conventional IPO, but by registering all of its privately held shares as common stock.

—Cambridge, MA-based Metamark Genetics and Johnson & Johnson unit (NYSE: JNJ) Janssen Biotech inked a research agreement to validate gene targets that play in a role in the spreading and progression of tumors. Metamark will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and is eligible for up to $365 million in milestone payments.

—Thousand Oaks, CA-based Amgen, which has R&D operations in Cambridge, signed a collaboration agreement with New Jersey-based Watson Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: WPI) to develop and sell antibody drugs that are knockoffs of the originals, known as biosimilars. Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) will contribute its research and expertise to making the protein drugs that are produced in living cells, and Watson will put as much as $400 million into the development.

Excelimmune, a Woburn, MA-based developer of so-called polyclonal antibodies, took in $12 million in financing from a private investor that it did not publicly name. The money will go toward developing Excelimmune’s molecules that aim to combat infectious diseases like Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

—Cambridge-based Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company got access to a new portfolio of small molecule cancer drugs that are designed to block variations of the target in cancer biology known as the PI3 kinase pathway. That came through the acquisition of San Diego-based Intellikine by Millennium’s Japan-based parent company, Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

—My colleague Arlene wrote about Enumeral Biomedical, a New York startup founded on science from MIT chemical engineering professor J. Christopher Love. He developed technology called protein microengraving that measures how the human body responds to infection and disease.

—PatientKeeper, a Waltham, MA-based developer of physician workflow software, pulled in another $6 million in growth funding, from Flybridge Capital Partners, New Enterprise Associates, and Whitney & Company.

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