Orexigen Halts U.S. Work on Weight Loss Drug, Illumina Cuts Price for Sequencing Patient Genomes, Ambit Pulls IPO, & More San Diego Life Sciences News

6/9/11Follow @bvbigelow

As if to make up for the previous week, there’s been a lot of news from local life sciences companies over the past week. So let’s get started.

—San Diego’s Orexigen Therapeutics (NASDAQ: OREX) said it would halt U.S. development of its experimental diet pill, a combination of naltrexone and bupropion (Contrave) after regulators rebuffed the company’s latest proposal. After the Food and Drug Administration rejected Orexigen’s new drug application in February, Orexigen sought approval to sell Contrave in a niche of patients with low cardiovascular risks until a long-term heart study could be completed. The FDA shot that down too, telling the company a large, long-term study of associated heart risks would be required before the drug could be approved.

—At the Third Annual Consumer Genetics Show in Boston yesterday, Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) CEO Jay Flatley chopped the price of the San Diego company’s Individual Genome Sequencing (IGS) service in half, from $19,500 to $9,500. Flatley said the company also would subsidize sequencing for some patients with life-threatening diseases. The CEO said Illumina was taking the measures to increase access to genetic information and to accelerate the adoption of individual genome sequencing.

—A San Diego federal judge yesterday lifted a temporary restraining order issued two weeks ago against Indianapolis, IN-based Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY), and denied a request for a preliminary injunction against Lilly that was sought by San Diego’s Amylin Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AMLN). Amylin recently sued Lilly after the pharmaceutical company unveiled plans to use the same sales team to market both Amylin’s diabetes drug, exenatide, and Boehringer Ingelheim’s rival diabetes drug, linagliptin. Both Amylin and Lilly issued statements on the ruling.

Ambit Biosciences, a San Diego biotech developing small-molecule, anti-cancer compounds, withdrew its plans for an initial public offering. Ambit said market conditions were not sufficiently attractive to continue with its IPO, which was a discretionary financing. The company has raised … 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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