Accelerator Slowed Down, Inside the Latest Seattle Genetics Deal, Ekos Finds New Use, & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

1/28/10Follow @xconomy

Biotech companies took a vow of silence during this week of breathless national celebration over the latest creation from Apple. The sarcasm you detect is intended. A few other things happened this week.

—The University of Washington has hired two heavy hitters from the world of high tech and biotech to help it get better at spinning out its inventions into the business world. Rick LeFaivre of OVP Venture Partners, and Pathway Medical founder Tom Clement talked about what they hope to accomplish on campus.

Accelerator, the biotech startup machine in Seattle, actually slowed down a fair bit in 2009, according to CEO Carl Weissman. The place endured a six-month dry spell last year when it wasn’t finding promising new company ideas, but Weissman hints that could soon change in the first part of 2010.

Ekos, the Bothell, WA-based developer of ultrasound catheters that help dissolve blood clots, told me that it is starting an ambitious new clinical trial to take its device from its original application in the legs, to a new use in the lungs.

—I stopped by Merck’s Sirna Therapeutics operation during my last trip to San Francisco, and came away with this exclusive interview with the company’s RNA interference leader, Alan Sachs. He should be familiar to Seattle biotechies, since he formerly ran Merck’s Rosetta Inpharmatics operation.

—Xconomist Ken Stuart, the founder and president of Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, wrote a guest editorial on how genomics have laid a foundation for discoveries in global health that will pay off over the next decade.

—My colleague in Boston, Ryan McBride, gathered some insight from Cambridge, MA-based Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company and its new partnership with Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ: SGEN). Millennium has high hopes that the brentuximab vedotin antibody will be useful for autoimmune disorders, in addition to its original application for Hodgkin’s disease and related lymphomas.

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