Bruce Carter Exits Stage Left, Targeted Genetics Cuts Payroll, OncoGenex Cancer Drug Prolongs Lives, & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

12/4/08Follow @xconomy

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to use computer models from Caltech that are supposed to help the company develop all sorts of drugs with fewer side effects than existing meds.

—Redmond, WA-based Spiration promoted Greg Sessler from chief financial officer to chief operating officer. He’ll have his hands full, as Spiration won FDA clearance in October to market its first product, a minimally invasive valve for lung diseases.

—Cell Therapeutics keeps hanging in there. The embattled Seattle biotech company signed a partnership with Spectrum Pharmaceuticals to co-market Zevalin for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and less than a week later, it said the FDA agreed to an accelerated 6-month review of its application to expand the eligible patient population for the drug. None of it matters much to investors, who have written this story off, giving it a stock price of 13 cents.

—Light Sciences Oncology finished enrollment of about 200 patients with liver cancer in a pivotal clinical trial. The Bellevue, WA-based company can now expect to find out whether its drug-device combination therapy for cancer can extend lives, with results expected in 2009.

—The WBBA, the state’s trade group for life sciences companies, hired Chris Rivera to replace Jack Faris as president. Rivera brings a load of experience in commercializing biotech drugs, which certainly won’t hurt local companies trying to get over the hump to become sustainable companies.

—Geospiza, a Seattle-based maker of software for genetic analysis, acquired the Genesifter technology from VizX Labs. This added product offering comes on the heels of a big sale to Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital Boston, injecting a little fresh momentum into this survivor of a company.

—Immune Design, the well-heeled vaccine startup run by Steve Reed, negotiated for the rights to some adjuvant technology from the Infectious Disease Research Institute, the nonprofit Reed founded in 1993. Under the deal, Immune Design gets rights to use the technology for diseases of wealthy countries, while IDRI keeps the technology for diseases of the developing world.

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