Bezos Family Gives $10M to Hutch, Bruce Carter Back in the Saddle, Dendreon Deadline Set, & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

11/25/09Follow @xconomy

A flurry of Seattle biotech news kept us very busy around here right before the holiday.

—The parents of Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos made one of the largest private donations ever to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center this week, when they pledged $10 million to support immunotherapy research.

—Seattle-based Bio Architecture Lab, the developer of biofuels from seaweed, said it has completed an $8 million Series A venture round that included investment from Statoil, the world’s largest producer of offshore energy. The University of Washington spinout also formed a collaboration with chemical giant DuPont, which has secured $9 million in federal support.

—One of Seattle’s leading biotech entrepreneurs, Bruce Carter, announced he was retiring from ZymoGenetics about a year ago, but now he’s found a new challenge as the executive chairman of Immune Design, a Seattle-based vaccine developer.

Dendreon (NASDAQ: DNDN), the Seattle-based developer of a treatment to stimulate the immune system against cancer, said the FDA has set a deadline of May 1 to complete the review of its application to market sipuleucel-T (Provenge) in the U.S. for men with terminal prostate cancer.

Seattle Genetics said it secured a $12 million upfront licensing fee from Agensys, an affiliate of Japan-based Astellas Pharma, to pursue multiple targets in an expanded partnership to develop targeted cancer drugs. The Bothell, WA-based company (NASDAQ: SGEN) is collaborating with Agensys on what it calls “empowered antibodies” that seek out tumors while unloading a toxin to give them extra tumor-killing punch.

Omeros (NASDAQ: OMER) said it expects to file an application for FDA approval in the second half of next year, for clearance to start marketing its first product, an anti-inflammatory treatment to help people recover faster from arthroscopic knee surgery. CEO Greg Demopulos made the comments in the company’s first conference call as a public company.

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