Rhythm, Ariad, PerkinElmer, & More Boston Life Sciences Newsmakers

6/8/12Follow @xconomy

Funding, clinical updates, and a new innovation center made up this week’s New England life sciences news.

—In his recent BioBeat column, Xconomy national biotech editor Luke Timmerman explored reasons why biotech startups might change their names. One of the recent examples was Cambridge, MA-based Aveo Oncology (NASDAQ: AVEO), which changed its name from Aveo Pharmaceuticals to better publicize its product focus.

—Cambridge Viscosity, whose technology is used to measure the viscosity of liquids for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, was acquired by the laboratory instrument maker PAC for an undisclosed sum. Medford, MA-based Cambridge Viscosity has been backed by the Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation.

—And days after an SEC filing showed that Rhythm Pharmaceuticals had pulled in $9.5 million of a targeted $34.5 million round, the  Boston-based company announced it was kicking off a Phase 2 trial of its novel compound RM-131 for treating gastroparesis in Type I and Type II diabetes patients. The condition impairs the stomach’s ability to move food further along the digestive tract.

—Shares of Cambridge-based Ariad Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ARIA) held relatively steady this week despite the FDA rejecting ridaforolimus (Taltorvic), the drug it is co-developing with Merck for the treatment of metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma or bone sarcoma. The stock closed at $16.20 just before FDA made its decision, and had risen slightly to close at $16.23 a share yesterday.

—And PerkinElmer (NYSE: PKI), a Waltham, MA-based provider of life sciences tools, announced it will create a Personalized Health Innovation Center of Excellence at its Hopkinton, MA, site, formerly occupied by Caliper Life Sciences, which was acquired by PerkinElmer for $600 million last year. The site will add another 100 jobs for the company and will “focus on accelerating scientific innovation to help researchers who are working to eradicate disease and extend the quality and longevity of life,” according to the announcement.

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