Dendreon Files FDA Application, DxBox Reaches Turning Point, ISB to Do 100 Genomes, & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

11/5/09Follow @xconomy

The local life sciences scene was pretty quiet this week, although we heard more than usual from medical device companies.

—Paul Yager, the University of Washington’s chair of bioengineering, offered a detailed status update on a tool called the DxBox his lab has been developing the past four years in collaboration with Redmond, WA-based Micronics, Seattle-based PATH, and Bothell, WA-based ELITech Group, all with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They are seeking to develop a portable, fast, accurate, and rugged diagnostic tool to help doctors in the developing world, and while there’s been a lot of progress, it’s entered the “put up or shut up” phase, Yager says.

—Seattle-based Dendreon turned in its complete application to the FDA for clearance to start marketing its first drug, sipuleucel-T, (Provenge) in the U.S. This filing came a bit earlier than Dendreon had forecasted, but it’s also a lot later than the company originally hoped when it first asked the FDA for approval, which you can read more about in this Dendreon history piece I did back in April.

—The Institute for Systems Biology said it has commissioned Mountain View, CA-based Complete Genomics to sequence the full genomes of 100 individuals as part of a Huntington’s disease experiment. This experiment is said to be the largest ever to use full human genome sequences.

—We’ve seen a few medical technology companies that are seeking to repair damaged tissues without leaving behind any implantable devices, and Bothell, WA-based QuantumCor is the latest. CEO Vern Dahl described his company’s plan to do this for a form of heart failure known as mitral valve regurgitation.

—Seattle-based Calypso Medical Technologies, the maker of a device to pinpoint radiation therapy for prostate cancer to minimize side effects, formed a collaboration with Siemens Healthcare. The companies will seek to develop the technology for pancreas and lung tumors.

—We also had an insightful guest editorial from Anthony Rodriguez, a Ph.D. bioengineering student at the University of Washington and an aspiring entrepreneur. He contends that it takes a village to raise an entrepreneur, and that while a few organizations have made some effort to cultivate young entrepreneurs at the UW, the business community could be doing much more.

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