ZymoGenetics Rival Emerges, Omeros IPO Casts Shadow, Microsoft’s HealthVault Seeks Users, & More Seattle Area Life Sciences News

10/29/09Follow @xconomy

We had a little something for everybody on the life sciences beat this week, with news on biopharmaceuticals, devices, and healthcare software.

—Seattle-based Omeros (NASDAQ: OMER) had potential to be a bellwether for the U.S. biotech sector earlier this month, as the first true biopharmaceutical company to go public since February 2008. But its stock has tanked, making it the worst-performing IPO of the year, according to data from Renaissance Capital. Not surprisingly, no other biotech company has stepped up to put its name on the IPO calendar since.

ZymoGenetics‘ former chief medical officer, Jan Ohrstrom, told me about his latest passion to develop a dry powder drug for excess bleeding that could be conveniently used by paramedics, and might be a superior alternative to liquid formulations like the one made by his former employer. He has recruited a former Zymonite to work for him at ProFibrix, and he’s set up a new office not far away from his old stomping grounds on Seattle’s Eastlake Avenue.

Microsoft has been leading the way for a couple years now to make medical records go electronic, and put individuals in charge of them, but the HealthVault software is still a long way from gaining mainstream acceptance. My colleague Ryan McBride reported on all the challenges Microsoft is facing following a talk by Peter Neupert, the vice president of Microsoft’s Health Solutions Group, at the Connected Health Symposium last week in Boston.

—The Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association’s big annual meeting in March is being revamped with a new name, new look, and a new program, as we heard in this guest editorial from Valerie Carricaburu of UW TechTransfer and biotech consultant Neile Grayson. The event, formerly known as Invest Northwest, is now going to be called Life Science Innovation Northwest, and will seek to entice not just investors, but also corporate and strategic partners with the wherewithal to support innovation in the Northwest. Valerie and Neile are seeking ideas from the community on how to improve the event, so feel free to post a note at the bottom of this story.

—Seattle-based Kineta, the developer of treatments for autoimmune diseases, formed a collaboration with Matawan, MI-based MPI Research, to support animal studies that will enable clinical trials to start in 2010. Terms weren’t disclosed.

—Bothell, WA-based SonoSite (NASDAQ: SONO) said its sales dropped by 13 percent in the quarter ending Sept. 30, and that it recorded an operating loss of $240,000 in the period.

—ZymoGenetics (NASDAQ: ZGEN) said it has started a mid-stage clinical trial of its pegylated interferon lambda drug for hepatitis C, which triggered a $70 million milestone payment from its partner, Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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