Amgen Gets FDA Approval, SonoSite’s New Frontier, Craig Venter’s Enabler, & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

6/3/10Follow @xconomy

Quite a few Seattle biotechies are quietly gearing up for the always-important American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting from June 4 to 8 in Chicago. Combine that with a holiday weekend, and the local life sciences news was a little light for Xconomy Seattle.

—One of the big national headlines this week came when Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) won FDA approval, ahead of schedule, to start selling denosumab (Prolia) for women with osteoporosis. This is big news for the world’s largest biotech company. But it’s not the end of the story. The company is also vying for FDA approval to market the product for cancer-related bone loss, a quest that one of Amgen’s local scientists has been pursuing for about 15 years.

SonoSite (NASDAQ: SONO), the Bothell, WA-based maker of portable ultrasound machines, made an important strategic move last week when it gobbled up Toronto-based Visualsonics. CEO Kevin Goodwin explained in detail what this new technology will mean for portable ultrasound, and how the company plans to use the new capabilities to crack open some new markets.

—Sometimes a startup is born after a couple old friends bump into each other after years of going their separate ways. That’s how Seattle Sensor Systems got an infusion of new vision and enthusiasm early this year, when Dendreon veteran Carole Spangler re-connected with UW researcher Clem Furlong on a portable technology for spotting pathogens.

—Genomics pioneer J. Craig Venter made international news a couple weeks ago when he engineered the first bacterial cell with an entirely synthetic genome. But he actually had a lot of help. One of the key players he relied on behind the scenes was a privately held company in Bothell, WA, called Blue Heron Biotechnology.

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