Seattle Genetics Nails 2nd Trial, Bristol Clinches Zymo Buyout, Halosource Goes Public, & More Seattle-Area Life Sciences News

10/14/10Follow @xconomy

One of Seattle’s biotech mainstay companies had an unceremonious ending this week, while another took a step ahead toward national prominence.

—New York-based pharma giant Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) said this week that it had essentially clinched its takeover of Seattle-based ZymoGenetics (NASDAQ: ZGEN) by purchasing 95 percent of the company’s shares at $9.75 apiece. Once the final paperwork is in, we’ll find out how many of the 320 Zymo employees it plans to retain.

Seattle Genetics (NASDAQ: SGEN) took a major step ahead this week, when it said its “empowered antibody” drug passed its second straight clinical trial with flying colors. This treatment, brentuximab vedotin, showed it could shrink tumors in a stunning 50 out of 58 patients (86 percent) with a rare and aggressive form of cancer known as anaplastic large cell lymphoma. This came just a few weeks after another study showed the treatment shrank tumors in about three-fourths of patients with Hodgkin’s disease. More details are coming out in December.

Halosource, the Bothell, WA-based maker of technology to purify drinking water in developing countries, raised $80 million this week in an IPO on the London Stock Exchange. The company plans to use the cash to expand its presence in India and China, while branching into new markets like Brazil and Eastern Europe.

—From the world of health IT, I had an interesting update from Seattle-based Appature. The company—which markets software to big pharma, medical device, and health technology companies—hired prominent startup attorney Eric Koester to help manage its growth. CEO Kabir Shahani says the company needs someone like Koester to manage a lot of existing contracts, now that Appature has sold its product to almost half of the nation’s top 10 healthcare companies.

VentiRx Pharmaceuticals, the biotech company with operations in Seattle and San Diego, said this week its experimental immune-boosting drug passed its first clinical trial as a treatment for allergies. This drug, made as a once-weekly nasal spray, has the potential to treat and possibly even prevent allergies, the company says. VentiRx is now on the prowl for a big drug company that wants a piece of this product, which could potentially be sold to millions of people in the U.S. and around the world.

—Lastly, I was pretty psyched up to announce our next big event at Xconomy Seattle. This gathering, called “Xconomy Forum: Biotech’s Back in Seattle” will bring together the CEOs of Dendreon, Seattle Genetics, Calistoga Pharmaceuticals, and Alder Biopharmaceuticals for a panel discussion about how Seattle can continue to build on some of the newfound momentum in the local industry. If you’d like to attend this event, you can register by clicking here. See you on November 29.

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