Cell Therapeutics Panel Stalled, Medical Device Angels Band Together, Calypso Cuts Side Effects, & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

2/18/10Follow @xconomy

The world knows all too well that we don’t have much snow here in the Pacific Northwest (sorry, Vancouver), but we certainly felt the impact of the East Coast snowstorm here on the biotech beat over the last week.

—Seattle-based Cell Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CTIC) is waiting a little longer than expected for its judgment day. The company had prepared to make its case for approval of pixantrone as a treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in front of an FDA advisory panel near Washington DC on February 10, but it was postponed because of the snowstorm. No word yet on when it will be rescheduled. But a couple days before the delay, FDA staff raised some concerns about how the drug has “substantial” toxicity.

Calypso Medical Technologies, the Seattle-based company with technology for precisely targeting radiation therapy, announced this week that it has the first data from a clinical trial that shows its system can help reduce the urinary, bowel, and sexual dysfunction that’s common for men who undergo this form of treatment for prostate cancer. The Calypso system, because it helps technicians better track how the prostate moves in the body, enables technicians to use a narrower radiation beam that avoids hitting healthy tissue.

—The Seattle innovation community has never had a formal group of angel investors that specialize in medical devices, at least until recently. I wrote the story about this fledgling (sorry, bad pun) group that calls itself Wings. Wings is led by some strong entrepreneurs in the field, including Endogastric Solutions founder Stefan Kraemer, University of Washington entrepreneur-in-residence Bob Wilcox, and Pathway Medical founder Tom Clement.

—One of the veterans from the early days at Bothell, WA-based Halosource, Simon Johnston, has formed a startup to tackle a new application for some emerging antimicrobial chemistry. The company, called Antimicrobial Technologies Group, has made compression socks with a tiny dose of an antimicrobial finish, which it hopes to sell to the many patients with diabetes who develop infections in their feet, because of poor circulation.

Chris Rivera, the president of the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association, offered up a guest editorial, co-authored with life sciences guru Steve Burrill, about why they are bullish about biotech in the Northwest. They are hoping to draw “significantly more” than the 700 people who attended the WBBA’s annual life sciences showcase event last year; Life Science Innovation Northwest 2010 is scheduled for March 16 and 17.

—Cell Therapeutics isn’t the only organization that’s been stalled by the East Coast snowstorm. Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD]), the Foster City, CA-based company with a significant research center in Seattle, is still waiting for word from the FDA on whether it will approve aztreonam lysine (Cayston) as a new inhalable antibiotic for patients with cystic fibrosis. The FDA’s deadline was February 13.

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