In Boston Life Sciences News: Akili, Kala, And Genocea

3/16/12Follow @xconomy

Drug developers and a new health-focused video game startup made the New England life sciences news this week. Yes, you read that correctly.

—Akili Interactive Labs is hoping to be the first with a video game approved by the FDA as a medical device. The startup was founded by Boston’s PureTech Ventures and draws on research from Adam Gazzaley, a University of California San Francisco neuroscientist who studies how the brain can meet goals in an environment full of distractions. The aim is to use the game to improve cognition in patients with ADHD, autism, and the like.

—My colleague Arlene gave a snapshot of Cambridge, MA-based Genocea Biosciences, led by CEO Chip Clark. The company is developing vaccines with a focus on stimulating T-cells.

—Kala Pharmaceuticals nabbed $6.2 million in new equity funding from existing investors Lux Capital, Polaris Venture Partners, Third Rock Ventures, and Lighthouse Capital Partners. The Waltham, MA-based startup also received grants from separate units of the National Institutes of Health that will help it develop its drugs for cystic fibrosis and ocular diseases.

—And Shire, the Irish pharmaceutical company with operations in the Boston area, is paying $100 million upfront to acquire San Francisco-based Ferrokin Biosciences, a startup developing a drug to help patients shed excess iron in the blood following multiple blood transfusions.

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