Carl Icahn Nominates Scripps Researcher to Biogen Idec Board, BrainCells Pursues New Drug Combo for Depression, Illumina Adds to Oxford Nanopore Investment, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

2/4/10Follow @bvbigelow

San Diego-based aFraxis is working to advance a possible drug treatment for Fragile X syndrome identified by MIT’s Susumu Tonegawa. Meanwhile Waltham, MA-based Syndax Pharmaceuticals is developing an anti-cancer drug that came out of Ron Evans’s lab at San Diego’s Salk Institute. That’s life sciences, and this is Xconomy:

—San Diego-based aFraxis CEO Jay Lichter told Luke the early stage biotech has identified several hundred compounds that appear capable of turning off a possible drug target for Fragile X syndrome, the second leading cause of mental retardation. Denise, who worked with Luke on the story, reported that aFraxis was founded in 2007, with funding from Avalon Ventures and based on research by the Nobel laureate Susumu Tonegawa of MIT.

BrainCells, a San Diego biotech, is planning its drug development strategy after reporting attention-getting results six months ago from a clinical trial of a combination drug for treating depression. When the anti-anxiety drug busiprone was combined with the hormone melatonin, BrainCells researchers got results comparable to standard anti-depression treatments based on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

—San Diego’s Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) is among the investors that just placed a $28 million bet on U.K.-based Oxford Nanopore Technologies, which has plans to sequence entire human genomes, possibly for as little as $1,000 per genome. Illumina previously invested $18 million in … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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